Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Christian's Look at AI -- Part 5

Now there is no way to definitively prove—or disprove—the existence of a soul for an AI. If I cannot know that, do AIs even need to be “saved”? For the concept of a sin nature is frequently tied to our spiritual state, that is, our soul.
While I cannot prove AIs would have a sin nature any more than I can prove that they would have a soul, AIs would be patterned after humanity—who is flawed and imperfect. It is unlikely that humanity would be able to program around our inclination toward sin. As a result, AIs may not have a sin nature, per se, but the probability is high that their programming would permit them to deliberately choose a course of action contrary to God’s law and therefore sin. As James reminds us, a person who has broken the law in one point has become a lawbreaker and is guilty of violating the whole (James 2:8-11).
But even if “perfection” was somehow obtained in theory, AIs would still be confined to this world, the whole of which has been tainted by sin not of its own fault. This is why Paul says in Romans 8:20-22, “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” So AIs would need “saving” from humanity’s sin along with the rest of creation.
And with this we see that we have been asking the wrong question again. The question should not be whether an AI can sin or whether he has a sin nature or even whether he needs saving. Rather the question should be why would an AI need faith?
This is where Hebrews 11 comes into focus once more. In verse 6 it is proclaimed that “anyone who comes to [God] must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Those actions would be possible for any AI who has a will. And not only is it possible, it would be necessary, for “without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6) So for AIs to be pleasing to God, they would need faith, and if they don’t have faith, they would displease God—therefore sinning and being in need of faith to be saved.   

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