Now What's Next? By Randy Nettles In March of last year, I wrote an article…
Artificial Intelligence – Locked and Loaded
By Hal Lindsey
If you’ve played with one of the freely available artificial intelligence programs, you were probably stunned with its speed. Tell ChatGPT to write a 1,000-word essay on causes of the American Civil War, and even the free version will spew out an essay with astonishing speed. It may not be entirely accurate. It may not be as good as the one you would have written. But it will do the job in a fraction of the time.
From early on, computers amazed us with their speed. And it is speed that makes AI both dangerous and inevitable. Right now, human pilots can outfly computers. But that won’t be the case for long. Computers are faster, and as AI pilots get better, they will begin to defeat human pilots. When that happens, nations around the world will be forced to arm autonomous machines in serious numbers. Any nation refusing to use AI in its defense will be vulnerable.
The same thing will happen on the ground. Imagine an army of four-legged, dog-like robots armed with advanced weapons and artificial intelligence. At first, they will be tough for humans to beat. Then humans will stop being able to defeat them at all. This will force nations to arm autonomous machines that cannot be unplugged.
In 1940, Isaac Asimov began writing a series of stories about robots with the ability to think and reason. By 1942, he had developed what we now refer to as the “Three Laws of Robotics,” or “Asimov’s Laws.” The first is the most important. “A robot shall not harm a human, or by inaction allow a human to come to harm.”
It must have been comforting to think that if humans were ever able to create true thinking machines, we would surely have the good sense to build in some kind of safety mechanism. That thought might have been comforting, but it was also nonsense. Human beings were never going to allow potential weapons of this significance to go unbuilt or unused.
AI may never achieve actual consciousness like you have, or even like your dog has. An AI can simulate consciousness and feelings, but they are nowhere near real consciousness. And that’s not very reassuring. If anything, lack of consciousness makes these machines more dangerous. It means they will have vast ability with zero empathy.
The “First Law of Robotics” is not compatible with military applications, and militaries are spending vast amounts of money right now developing AI-based weapons systems. Such machines will both fight and kill. Police departments and even private security firms will also use armed AI-based machines — autonomous robots. Any military that does not embrace Artificial Intelligence will fall hopelessly behind. Armed forces around the world will have no choice. They will have to add AI to their weapons and weapons to their AI.
In the movies, autonomous machines often turn against humanity. Is that possible? One of AI’s pioneers, Mo Gawdat, predicts that AI will one day be able to build its own machines to carry out its own directives, bypassing people completely. He says such AI will likely think of humans as “scum.” What do you do with scum? You clean it up — get rid of it.
With enough time, Artificial Intelligence might do devastating things to the human race. And AI is only one of several extreme threats to civilization. We should respond to such threats with wise policies and thoughtful actions. We should be good citizens and good stewards. And we should pray. Washington and Lincoln led the nation in prayers of thanksgiving that included repentance. On D-Day, Franklin Roosevelt led the nation in prayer, calling on his fellow citizens to begin and end each day with “fervent” prayer. In this hour of danger, the whole world needs to humbly call on God in repentance and for help.
No matter what the world does, however, you can stand firmly in God’s grace. The Bible long ago warned about the days in which we now live. But it also tells those who are in Christ Jesus not to fear, but to walk in faith that He will care for us. So, lift up your head. Your redemption draws near!