The Future Is Now

May 29th, 2014

Stephen Hawking is worried about the future. When Stephen Hawking is worried about the future, we all should be worried about the future. In an online article posted May 1, the brilliant physicist urged caution and strict attention to possible future outcomes of creating artificial intelligence—technology that is capable of thinking for itself (see article).

His concerns largely relate to whether or not artificial intelligence will still be able to be controlled by humans. If not, every science fiction movie you’ve ever seen suddenly comes into play as a potential reality. Technology capable of improving itself could quickly eclipse human ability not only to control it but also to understand it. With near consensus now on the negative impact of humanity on our environment, there’s a growing awareness that we could easily be considered by an advanced intelligence as a threat to the planet.

The Implications

Could creating artificial intelligence be our greatest and final achievement? The implications of that question are unsettling. All of the incredible advances in technology to date are the result of human intelligence. Is it truly possible that we could create something that can think and perform beyond the limits of the human form? Why would such a technology answer to us, a clearly inferior “life form,” riddled with greed, selfishness, and gluttony? And why on earth is it necessary to face a doomsday warning in order to address those issues as a culture? As disciples of Jesus, shouldn’t we be working tirelessly toward Christian perfection already?

The Ripple Effect

It’s easy to walk through life believing that our individual decisions don’t carry a lot of weight or have noticeable consequences. But increasingly we’re living in a time when the impact of an individual matters, and often matters significantly. For good or bad, our personal choices have ripple effects that we need to consider when making them.

Question of the Day: If you could invent a smart device to make your life better, what would it be?

Focal Scriptures: Genesis 3:1-24; Mark 10:17-31; Acts 9:1-22

For a complete lesson on this topic visit LinC here!

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