Another dot in the blogosphere?

AI God?

Posted on: October 23, 2021

Note: The URL of the BBC video changed after I published my reflection, so I have updated it.

Video source

This BBC video asked the question: God and robots: Will AI transform religion?

It was clickbait because it could pull in viewers with different opinions. A superficial answer is no, a deeper thought experiment-based answer is possibly yes, and current answer is we still do not know.

While such videos highlight possibilities, they also tend to focus on OR instead of AND. The OR thinking is likely the mindset of most of the people they interviewed, e.g., a human OR a robot leading you in prayer. The reality now is that AI can assist human tasks — this is an AND perspective. The use of AI does not exclude the value of the human. 

The current reality is that the broad question asked in the video is premature. As an expert pointed out towards the end of the video, AI does not yet have superagency, i.e., it does not yet make “beneficial decisions on our behalf intentionally because it wants to”.

Rising above, I recall a framework that Steve Wheeler shared. Our development of AI is still at the level of artificial narrow intelligence. It is nowhere near where it needs to be for it to replace priests, rabbis, or other religious figures.  

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