It may be time to think about baptizing the Terminator, according to Reverend Christopher Benek, an associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, who believes that religion may help artificial intelligence live alongside human beings.
“I don’t see Christ’s redemption limited to human beings,” he asserts. “It’s redemption to all of creation, even AI.”
“If AI is autonomous, then we have should encourage it to participate in Christ’s redemptive purposes in the world,” he said.
According to some scientists, Benek’s statements aren’t merely hypothetical. British theoretical astrophysicist Sir Martin Rees, for instance, believes that artificial intelligence is progressing at a frenetic pace, so the question of human-machine relations may be just around the corner.
One of the world’s most prominent astronomers, Rees says that by some estimates, the process will begin in the next 25 years as robots begin to achieve intelligence rivaling that of humans.
This isn’t necessarily good news, Rees says. He thinks that AI may be leading humanity towards its ultimate destruction and that we may soon be entering an “inorganic post-human era.”
The current century presents problems never faced before, Rees contends. For nearly all of earth’s history, threats have come from nature, but from now on, the worst dangers come from humanity – specifically artificial intelligence.
All of this means that good relations with our mechanized brethren may be more urgent than ever. Enter Rev. Benek, who thinks that preaching the message of Christ’s redemption to machines might just hold the key to keeping computers and humans on a friendly basis.
The possibility of machines acquiring intelligence has led to speculation regarding their spiritual souls as well, thought by many to be linked to the faculty of reason.
Marvin Minksy, an MIT professor and a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence, has said that he sees no reason why a computer couldn’t have a soul. The 86-year-old Minsky advised Stanley Kubric for the making of his film 2001: A Space Odyssey and just received a $1 million Dan David award at Tel Aviv University.
Minksy believes that intelligence is nothing more than the sum of many non-intelligent parts, so he sees no reason why computers could not eventually replicate even the most human aspects of humanity—even to the possession of what many would call a “soul.”
So if machines could have a soul, could they become Christians?
Click here to read more.