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Science Uprising — The Human Difference

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Image source: Discovery Institute.

The latest Science Uprising episode is out and what it has to say is important. From the late Stephen Hawking to Elon Musk, some of the smartest people on Earth have issued warnings about the looming danger posed by artificial intelligence. Not only is AI an amazing technology, they say, with the potential for uses both good and bad, but it threatens to replace and destroy humanity. The media love this particular concept and continually seek to scare us with it. Why?

The episode calls out the idea for what it is: applied materialism. Materialism is the denial of a spiritual reality. It animates Darwinian thinking, and it drives the panic about AI. After all, if humans are no more than “meat machines,” then a superior machine, equipped with AI, could well choose to do away with us. However, as four notable scholars explain here, AI runs on algorithms, which are essentially a recipe. AI only does what it’s programmed to do. Humans transcend algorithms. We do things that computers will never be able to accomplish:

An Unexpected Gift

Interviewed for the episode, Robert J. Marks, John Lennox, Jay Richards, and Selmer Bringsjord have profound things to teach. Dr. Marks, for example, is a renowned computer engineer at Baylor University who directs the Discovery Institute’s Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence. He says that by its nature, AI is locked in a silo or box where it exercises its ability to run algorithms. Creativity, not mere copying or following commands, entails thinking “outside the box.” That’s how it can surprise us with genuine novelty. It’s why new ideas often come to us out of the blue: not summoned but given as an unexpected gift.

This, too, may be why artists notoriously live disordered lives, and why totalitarian societies are typically poor in art (as distinct from kitsch or propaganda) and in creativity generally. The regimentation is not compatible with giving free rein to the human difference. It’s something to think about as rule by authoritarian experts becomes more and more the expectation in our own culture. Young people especially need to understand this. Watch the new Science Uprising now and share it.

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