Steve Wozniak, Stephen Hawking, and Elon Musk all predict a future in which human beings will be replaced by computers. It’s happening now and many of us have already witnessed parts of it in varying degrees. For example, I haven’t set foot in a financial institution in 25 years. All of my banking is automated. Is the computer takeover really such bad news and will it really ever become a reality?
I’ve been a science fiction nerd from birth, raised on movies like The Stepford Wives, Tron, Westworld, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. In these films, computers could and would take over our lives the minute we turned our backs on them. Gee, that sounds like some people I’ve known. But as I grew up I looked at this in a different light. For example, in A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Jude Law’s character is an artificial Romeo named Gigolo Joe. As a single woman burned out on dating I remember thinking, “You mean I could have the computerized man of my dreams with none of the relationship hassles? Where do I get me one of them??”
Now fast forward to me as a professional working woman. Anyone who’s been in any kind of management or leadership position for more than one nanosecond knows that much of what’s done at the intermediary level can best be described as adult babysitting. If someone asked me if I had any kids I’d say, “You betcha! I’ve got hundreds of them!” And I meant it.
Humans are flawed, emotional, lazy, jealous, and often incapable of exhibiting higher-order thinking. Each of the Seven Deadly Sins reflects a distinctly human trait. With A.I. I won’t have to shell out big bucks for frivolous lawsuits, worry about infighting, hurt feelings, sick days, or burgeoning health-care costs. I know what I’d get each and every day and could just focus on getting the job done. Hallelujah!
But is that how life is to be lived? Isn’t the very definition of evolution the constant adaptation to future scenarios? Creation, epiphany, and initiative are the catalysts for all change. And if you believe we evolved from space dust, which came from who knows where, you better believe that humans are a requirement for any type of future.
Even a movie like Prometheus, which utilizes the “alien gospel doctrine,” presents a dialogue between David, an A.I. being, and Elizabeth Shaw, a human scientist. When they finally discover who created mankind, David is satisfied, Shaw is not. At the end of the film the question still remains: who created the alien race that created man? Shaw must now find who created the aliens who created us and so on, and so on, and so on. The Law of Conservation of Mass says that matter remains constant in a closed system. Although some would argue that our universe is not closed, everything still has a beginning. There has to be a creative force at the beginning of anything.
Life is all about the search for truth, at least from the human perspective. And as long as humans are creating what replaces them, our genetic coding will end up in a new binary form. How can the creator not leave an imprint of himself on his creation? I just saw Ex Machina in which a brilliant but sadistic computer genius, Nathan, creates a brilliant but sadistic A.I., Ava. Thus proveth my point. Just as in Blade Runner, (spoiler alert) the creation kills its creator. Glad to see karma extends to A.I.
In today’s world, more than at any other time in the history of mankind, we erroneously focus our future purely on science. We act as if science trumps all and exist in intellectual solitude. Anyone who injects anything else is a denier or a nut-job, despite the fact that throughout all of mankind’s history, faith and science have walked hand in hand. As Michael Crichton so brilliantly said, “Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming the matter is already settled.” In his book All Truth Is God’s Truth, Arthur F. Holmes explains that at least three major perspectives run through the history of thought: naturalistic, idealistic, and theistic. Science and faith are all wrapped up in each other. Neither can exist in isolation.
Life’s ultimate mystery is bound up in carbon-based units and that, my friends, is why we’ll never ever be replaced. The human condition is one of errors which in turn offers the capacity for growth. We sharpen our tools, go back to the drawing board, and try again. We evolve. We show initiative and insights. We do things that are illogical because we see because we have conviction.Our minds lead us to see things that science cannot see, our souls lead us to do things before the evidence demands action, and our hearts drive us to fulfill our greatest purpose.
I agree that robots should replace the majority of people consuming resources on this planet. After all, if you’re not helping, you’re hurting, and you should be replaced immediately. Robots are far better at “doing” human, but life is all about “being” human. So for those of us who strive to make the world a better place through our manmade talents, our God-given gifts, and the wholeness of our humanity: Relax and embrace the future, because it’s going to be a glorious one!