Artificial Intelligence, Life Optimization, and God
This blog post is a bit different. It's something that I'm learning about and is becoming more relevant to our times - Artificial Intelligence. There are big questions surrounding Artificial Intelligence that we've seen in blockbuster movies (Terminator, iRobot, etc). It has come up more and more in church discussions and even sermons! What is AI? Does it have a soul? Are there rights for AI?
These are all great questions and computer scientists, philosophers, psychologists, and theologians have been thinking about them for quite some time now. I'm not going to dive into that discussion - the transcendental value of AI. I do want to talk about how we relate to AI, on a societal level. What can we learn about our lives through the analogy of AI? First of all, I should define what I really mean by AI, as it is such a broad category. I'm defining it as a created object that utilizes computations as it's use to the user. There are constantly new AIs being developed and testing. Although the more these developer learn and make AIs, the more they are classified simply as algorithms. Either definition suits the purpose of this article.
For my work, I am always trying to find new ways of doing things. I'm always challenging the my status quo. For better or for worse, that's my main mode of operation. In my line of work, there are some optimization techniques that I used to find the optimal solutions. Here are some of the techniques : Modified Genetic Algorithms, Genetic Aggregation, and Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs).
The development of these tools is to do 2 things. 1 - further understanding of methods of understanding and 2 - create methods that solve and optimize our challenges. I use them at work to solve specific cases. Very complex problems are best suited for these algorithms. It is able to self learn data and run optimization on it such that I can find the best solution. I have created ANNs to solve complex problems that don't have easily accessible closed formed solutions. Even if they do exist, the amount of time it would take me to compute would be unreasonable.
Regardless of what system that is used, there is always an objective imputed to the system. Even if the system was truly self-learning, the maker would always bestow upon it the objectivity. In that respect, it is subjectively valuable. It has value to me. If I don't have the need anymore, it's value is stripped. It no longer has any purpose. It can't pull itself up from it's own value bootstraps to create objective purpose, even if it is cognitive.
In a similar way, we all have subjective value that is linked to one another. Take for instance, a business deal. I have many clients that need my help in my expertise and by fulfilling their need brings subjective value to me. In no way does this create some sort of objective value unless there is some level higher to give me objective significance. There needs to be a grounded, necessary object that finds its objectivity in itself. I espouse that this could only be God.
God is the one who is self existing, where the reason for His existence is Himself. By his creation, just like man's creation of algorithms and AI, He has put purpose to these creations. The difference between the AI and us, is that our value becomes objective because it is grounded in God, a self-existing, self-sufficient being.
God is the best designer, the best engineer, the best architect. He has the blue prints for our lives and also defines for us the objective of our lives. Knowing that and being cognitive beings, we can do the same as these algorithms, bring joy to our creator by optimizing the life that He has given us and fulfilling the role in this world He has given us. That objective value not only applies to us, but propagates down to all things we do and provides a basis for good and evil. Through God, we can live with joy that our world is infused with significance and meaning.