GUEST VIEW: Artificial intelligence has no conscience

By Van Yandell

Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Those of us that have reached that elderly status in life remember Johnny Carson. That one man set the bar for late night comedy and the profession has been struggling ever since to catch up with an icon that in the opinion of many is not achievable.

Following Johnny was Jay Leno and his comedy wasn’t quite as bullying as some. Jay had one segment of his program called “Jay Walking.” He would ask people, (usually young people) very simple questions that most of us would expect anyone to know.

The answers he received were so outrageous and off-base, they were hilarious. This left many of us with the question, “American education, what are you doing?” Being a retired teacher, I cringed at some of the answers given and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

It appears the human race has adopted the philosophy that we can let someone (or something) else do our thinking for us. The concepts of discernment, rationalizing, and analyzing have taken a backseat to ignorance and apathy. To be uninformed or ill-informed seems to be acceptable in today’s society.

For human-kind to even be considering the allowing of machines to do our thinking may be a sign of the times, but it is shallow and short-sighted. When I taught industrial arts, I frequently told my students that “A saw or drill has no conscience and does not care if it hurts you. It’s up to you to be careful.”

Machines have no compassion or feelings, period! To live in a binary world is to live in an artificial world. How can life matter without human traits of emotion?

Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” We know of course, we do not look like God and He doesn’t look like us. That verse has to mean His spiritual image. It is the spirit in us that instills those emotions that make us human.

Without being “God created in His image” beings, we would be just another animal. He created them too, of course, but not in His image. He gives us emotions that make us human. Emotions are imperative for a faith based belief (Romans 10: 9-10). Without the ability to discern and consider varying alternatives/beliefs, faith in the one true God would be difficult if not impossible.

To consider the evidentiary factors substantiating the Holy Bible as being the one true word and revealing to us by our Creator, all other stated dogmas appear as man created notions to fit a narrative. The human processing by faith in the Word of God, gives an assurance not present in any other point of view.

Artificial intelligence, being mechanical/binary, the God-given rationale we have will not exist. AI may mean loss of jobs, death of human interaction and an end to the need for humans to think. But, on a much more serious matter, it could take us further away from our God created selves.

Human interaction/relationships are already a victim of technology. It is noticeable the only personality many have is with their phones. AI will definitely contribute very negatively to the once natural skills of human interaction. Many in our world today find it difficult to engage in conversation with anyone/anything non-digital.

I’m really somewhat perplexed as to why this sudden emphasis on AI. Even our lawmakers are now looking into the problems and manifestations created by this (what they see as) new technology. Actually AI has been around a while and could be considered an improvement in some environments.

Voice activated devices were an early form of AI. Using a search site on the internet is such because it determines for us what are the most pertinent or important articles or videos to satisfy our purpose. Spell check and spell correct make decisions for us and, as we all know; they do not always make the right choices for our needs.

Self-driving and self-parking cars are examples of AI which is obvious, but the use of computer chips integrated into the vehicle systems which began 30 years ago was an example that we thought nothing about. Now the big-tech companies are informing us that machines will be able to think and we panic.

This is not a time to be concerned AI will take jobs. Fifty years ago, we were told automation would eliminate jobs in the industrialized world and it did not. Actually, it added jobs. People have to be trained and employed to build and maintain the robots, numerical controlled machines and other programmable controlled devices.

Robots have been painting and welding in the automotive, appliance and machinery industries for years. Building, distributing/set-up and maintenance of these machines dictate new jobs. Do not worry, jobs will continue to exist. Self-checkouts have been criticized in stores for taking jobs while in truth, they have added jobs.

Where humankind will pay dearly for AI is when it starts making decisions concerning our health, family and finances. It will be impossible for all contributing factors to be programmed into the applications. To have a computer determine which vitamin pill or donut is best suited for our need is one thing, but to prescribe medicine or determine which stock or bond to buy is another.

There must be a point at which we must make a decision on how far we want this to go. The only recourse for humanity is to simply not buy and use the gadgets employing AI. Once again, capitalism (money producing actions) is the bottom line in the development of AI.

With the tech junkies in the world we know that is not going to happen. Personally, I find the abilities of technology intriguing so maybe I should plead guilty as well.

The history of technology must speak to us loud and clear. We fully well know some technology is for the greater good and some is not. The development of the internet has been great for financial institutions to keep up with our accounts, but that same technology is used by pedophiles to seduce children and steal identities.

Since most everything has advantages and disadvantages, two questions must be: 1) Is AI beneficial or detrimental to Christianity? 2) Is our faith strengthened or weakened because of it?

I use the internet to find some of the information for articles, sermons and lessons. My purpose is to teach others about the Bible and share the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of the extensive reach of the internet, the articles are available worldwide and have been printed in newspapers and magazines in several states and countries.

As with many concepts in life, it depends on what we do with it and to what extent we come to depend on it. As Great Commission Christians (Matthew 28:18-19), it is our privilege to tell others about our Jesus and His saving Grace. He gave His life, shed His blood as atonement for the sin of the world and was resurrected from the dead.

We must be cautioned of the Christian haters in this world and be alert for their use of AI to dispute Christ (Matthew 24: 9). It will happen! When AI is used to make decisions, it could in some cases be programmed (or program itself) to counter Christianity. A machine cannot be faith based in its “thinking.” It must rely on digital technology.

If there are final words to be said to the Christian it is this: Use technology which includes Artificial Intelligence to promote Christ Jesus in a lost, godless world. But, always be on guard for those that wish to destroy our precious Savior and his Holy Word.

Van Yandell is a retired Industrial Arts teacher, an ordained gospel evangelist and commissioned missionary, from Fredonia, Kentucky. A part of the Bible Connection series.