Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
AI’s Fatal Flaw?
Short Answer: God’s wisdom, lack thereof.
From what I have read on the “thinking” and problem solving capability of Artificial Intelligence, which seems to become more brilliant (but more worrisome as well) with each passing day, there is one problem I believe AI will never be able to solve: how to get true wisdom to pair with all its digitized knowledge.
Not merely the kind of wisdom deduced through observable, trackable behaviors but the kind of wisdom that preceded humans and their inventions.
I mean the kind of wisdom suggested in Job 38:4-7 where God asks Job the following rhetorical questions when Job challenges Him as to the justice of his wretched condition–before the good ending of the story (as if God lacked wisdom to know what He was doing and what He allowed), wisdom that can neither be tracked nor “unpacked” by machines:
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding [wisdom]. Who determined its measurements – surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?*
And there’s also the problem for AI and its designers who are ever trying to come up with something like the human brain but so far eluding it: our center of comprehension (that could also include God’s true and eternal wisdom, see below) is not limited to mere flesh and blood, bits and bytes.
I’m speaking of the wisdom received by faith through grace from the Engineer of engineers Who makes this kind of wisdom available to all those who choose to follow Him (see also more below).
It is the supernatural kind of wisdom that not only stands the test of time but came before time, that not only “does the math” but “was/is the math”.
If you think about it.
But in our attempt to define true wisdom, we do at least have some knowledge of it, like we also have at least some knowledge of God’s (other) invisible qualities, his “eternal power and divine nature” that can be gleaned by observing the nature He created.
Consider the following.
Man’s Best Wisdom
For a partial summary from Wordnik as to the many definitions and synonyms for wisdom that mankind has come up with, here are a few (emphasis added):
- An element of personal character that enables one to distinguish the wise from the unwise.
- noun countable A piece of wise advice.
- noun The discretionary use of knowledge for the greatest good.
- noun The ability to apply relevant knowledge in an insightful way, especially to different situations from that in which the knowledge was gained.
- noun The ability to make a decision based on the combination of knowledge, experience, and intuitive understanding. [Ever get a “hunch” or “gut feeling” about something”?]
- noun theology The ability to know and apply spiritual truths. continue reading…
Now To the Worrisome Part Regarding Artificial Intelligence and Man’s Knowledge of Wisdom
With reference to the above bolded aspects of man’s definition of wisdom, here are a few more problems regarding AI:
- How can a robot “know” wise from unwise particularly when it is dependent upon “the programs of biased humans” (as one AI expert put it a recent interview) and where such bias, like a defective gene, influences succeeding (computer) generations?
- Regarding discretionary use–given that computers can be subject to biased programmers (not to mention malignant narcissists, genocidal maniacs, etc) not just good guys, the definition of ‘”greatest good” can mean creating, for example, the nano kind of computing device that, like a microscopic-scale Trojan horse, can be injected into human cells to, say, destroy cancer cells, OR to destroy humans if the discretionary use is dictated by bad guys. Know what I mean?
- How can a robot mine for “relevant knowledge” and “insight” if the motherlode of data is itself limited, and always vulnerable to GIGO (as in corruption, both the literal and figurative kinds), particularly in our world today when the psyop called “there is no absoute truth” has been so effective that what is advertised and believed by many to be good for us may in reality be bad for us, especially if a complicit media is programmed to scrub opposing views?
- Plus, “intuitive understanding“–i.e., that “natural ability or power that makes it possible to know something without any proof or evidence : a feeling [hunch. gut-feeling] that guides a person to act a certain way without fully understanding why,” is not programmable, let alone understood by metal minds devoid of sufficient human nuance where it’s each to their own nuance in many instances.
- And the most worrisome of all regarding AI, a fear even designers and programmers note, is that, one day, number five or six or 1,984, comes alive and starts thinking on its own. SIDE NOTE: and God help us if AI will also mimic human development and go through a kind of adolescent stage…gathering late at night behind the lab, drinking high-octane AI juice of some sort, flipping through issues of AI Whizmatronics, and dancing until all hours while making plans to TAKE OVER THE WORLD! (Just a mother’s hunch…)
So clearly, there are still glitches in the machine.
And I’m not going to go into the possible ramifications if, say, another entity enters the gates, as some suggest, with an agenda even worse than a bunch of AI teens unplugged and planning some kind of Great Rewire…
I will leave that for those who both “know and apply spiritual truths”.
But now to the real point of this post: the only place to get true and lasting wisdom: God.
God’s Eternal Wisdom
If you look to God’s wisdom, consider just the following points of consideration:
- Well, to begin with, it’s God’s creation the inventors of AI want to emulate. Who else?
- God doesn’t have to mine or download anything to figure out how to replicate it.
- A major gain in the design of AI is the speed at which it can operate, as in the speed of light or close to it; whereas, God created light.
- God doesn’t have to work from models or patterns, He designed models and set patterns in motion. You might say God is the model of what some call the “higher power,” “universal intelligence,” “providence,” “absolute being,” or “infinite spirit”. If you think about it, even atheists have a god, rather, an anti-God.
- As brilliant as computer designers are, the raw materials had to come from somewhere–even the designers, themselves had to come from somewhere…which brings to mind one of my favorite old jokes that goes something like this: a group of scientists tell God they finally figured out how to create life. He says, “Okay, show me.” They bend down to scoop up some dirt, and God says, “Oh, no. That’s my dirt. You find your own dirt.”
Although AI may be able to now or in future generations mine our minds and manners (or lack thereof), our habits, routines, health status, “moods” as fast as a speeding neuron, it’s that intuitive understanding, discretion, and ability to discern spiritual truth that will always be illusive for a machine dependent on proof, evidence, and repetition in order to analyze, and copy.
(Not to mention what evil this way will come when malignant narcissists or genocidal maniacs might be at the controls.)
But to the kind of wisdom that pre-dates dates, remaining the same yesterday, today, and forever (and witness how it keeps on working despite what mankind cyphers to destroy it) there is God’s wisdom available to all who so choose it.
Choose it? See here for what, why, and how.
And–this is my favorite part–above and beyond (into infinity, to be precise) of what limited man will ever be able to invent is God’s own design for the impartation of His wisdom (the kind that makes stars sing, oceans roar, blind see, deaf hear, prodigals return…): an impartation made possible not by man’s means or inventions but by God’s mysterious ways and that is accomplished “invisibly,” neither trackable nor predictable. It occurs thus (block-chain this, AI):
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.( John 3:8)
On attaining this kind of wisdom, it all starts here, as Jesus explains in more from chapter 3:
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (3-6)
And for this ultimate purpose:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (16)
(Where, incidentally, there will be no rust, corrosion, EMPs, weasels to chew very expensive wires, malignant narcissists, genocidal maniacs–or humans to forget to power up the transmitters.)
But That’s Not All God’s Wisdom Means for Believers
Here is just a sampling of the myriad benefits of God’s wisdom from Proverbs chapter 1:
2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;
3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity [equality];
4 To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.
5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings [riddles, enigmas].
But that’s just a taste of God’s wisdom for us. Check out chapter 2, too—and all the other chapters in Proverbs. Psalms, and in another vein, Lamentations, contain a lot of good input on wisdom, too along with…well there are a total of 66 books in the biblical anthology awaiting the curious, the hungry, the needy, oppressed, depressed, and especially, in such a time as this, the discouraged…
I know Whom I will look to for the wisdom to get me through.
It beats waiting for the latest, greatest, flash and shine advertised in AI Whizmatronics (not to mention having to always be on guard for GIGO), because …
…God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
And it’s all good.
*Sometimes the highest wisdom is not always understood at the time, nor does it necessarily follow a merely logical train of thought. This can be understood via Job’s narrative, thought to be the first recorded book of the Bible and featuring the prophecy of the need for a “daysman” [lawyer] who could both completely understand–and experience–the condition of man and also have access to the throne room of God in order to plead our case after having paid the price of our admission, to so speak. This legal counsel is, of course, Jesus. See here for more comments on this spiritual enigma found in the Book of Job.