In Germany in the 1930s and 40s, you had a people who elevated a man to a place where he was considered the Savior of humanity. You had a rejection of God’s standards and a pressing forward to some new path – a path of man’s own making. You had a resurgence in looking towards the gods for guidance. You had the promise of future glory as a motivation – just as the people of Babel sought after – the people of Germany looked to make a name for themselves. And, you had Satan, old splitfoot, attempting once again to ruin God’s plan – to wipe out God’s people – and to set himself up as ruler over humanity.
He took advantage of this public worship and used it to do the unthinkable. Of course, I believe the man was demon possessed; but, what of society? Supposedly civilized Germany went right along with his rounding up of dissidents, extermination of the Jews and others, forced sterilization of those he considered genetically flawed and dictatorial ways. Sure, many probably did so because they wanted to survive themselves; however, that in itself says a lot. In Hitler, we had full-scale human evil – and nobody but the allied armies was able to stop him – and many simply had no desire to. He promised the moon, and delivered much of it. The German people’s lives improved greatly from the days where they were wheeling their wages home in wheelbarrows. Amazing what people will do for a little prosperity. They will vote in the devil himself if it brings peace and prosperity. Hitler didn’t hide his views; but the people excused them and went with him any way. Any lack of peace they had was only temporary for their Fuhrer had to make a few adjustments to the world structure before his full dream could be realized. The world needed hope and change and he provided it – at least for a while – at least on the surface – at least if you weren’t Jewish or evangelical Christian or dissenting Catholic or mentally disabled or homosexual or anyone he didn’t agree with.
And so, WWII closed with a society witnessing the horrors that were Nazi Germany and they all of one accord said “never again.” But, sadly, we don’t teach that history any more and so a generation of young people are graduating with no conception of how bad things can go and a naive outlook on where leadership without God can take us. The phrase, “those who learn nothing from history are doomed to repeat it” has never been more true than it is today. The scary thing is we at least had a Judeo-Christian America to stand up and go against the tide in those days. Do we have that today? Not by a long shot.
So, we’re poised. We’re poised to accept the promise. We’re poised to follow a leader. And when the right crisis comes along, we’re poised to throw caution to the wind and embrace anything that will bring us hope. We will joyfully exult in gaining the whole world, reaching our full human potential and beyond – even if it means losing our soul. Danger lies ahead. Some very dangerous trends are beginning to repeat. Is anyone listening?
Many aren’t – even though the signposts are all around them. For example, futurist Ray Kurzweil envisions a day coming very soon where we will not die. He envisions a Utopia where man merges with machine and if there is an illness in one’s system, a nanobot or some other implanted technology will go fix it. He sees this as the next step in human evolution and boldly proclaims that not only is he not going to die, but that he’s going to bring the dead back to life. He is so engrossed in these technologies that he really believes he will bring his late father back to life. Kurzweil is very brilliant, and very naive.
On the flip side, men such as retired artificial intelligence researcher Hugo de Garis fully realize the risk, but forge ahead anyway. De Garis said, “I’m predicting there will be a major war, late 21st century, between two human groups. So one group, they will argue that the only way to insure the risk [of artificially intelligent machines destroying mankind] is zero, is that they’re never built in the first place. But the second group, for them it will be almost like a religion to build these things because they will be godlike. And so you’ve got here the source of a bitter conflict between these two human groups. Then with late 21st century weapons, you’re talking about a major war that will kill not millions of people, but billions. As a brain builder myself, am I prepared to risk the extinction of the human species for the sake of building an artilect? Because that’s what it comes down to….[deep exaggerated breath followed by a slight grin]… yep!” (Quote directly taken from the film Transcendent Man 2009, Barry Ptolemy, director).
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk quipped about a potential existential danger to humanity with Artificial Intelligences (AIs) “If its [function] is just something like getting rid of e-mail spam and it determines the best way of getting rid of spam is getting rid of humans . . . ”
Some are so concerned that they are beginning to explore the possibility of programming morality into the AIs. They are so serious about it that in an article entitled : Now The Military Is Going To Build Robots That Have Morals , Patrick Tucker at defenseone.com notes:
“The Office of Naval Research will award $7.5 million in grant money over five years to university researchers from Tufts, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Brown, Yale and Georgetown to explore how to build a sense of right and wrong and moral consequence into autonomous robotic systems.” He also notes: “Some members of the artificial intelligence, or AI, research and machine ethics communities were quick to applaud the grant. “With drones, missile defines, autonomous vehicles, etc., the military is rapidly creating systems that will need to make moral decisions,” AI researcher Steven Omohundro told Defense One. “Human lives and property rest on the outcomes of these decisions and so it is critical that they be made carefully and with full knowledge of the capabilities and limitations of the systems involved. The military has always had to define ‘the rules of war’ and this technology is likely to increase the stakes for that.”
Still, the question is whose morailty would they be programmed to have? In the same article, AI Robotics expert and critic, Noel Sharkey said “I do not think that they will end up with a moral or ethical robot,” Sharkey told Defense One. “For that we need to have moral agency. For that we need to understand others and know what it means to suffer. The robot may be installed with some rules of ethics but it won’t really care. It will follow a human designer’s idea of ethics.”
As smart as robots may become, any “morality” they have is simply going to be encoded in them from their designer’s set standards. Moral decisions interpreted by an American with a western mindset may be considerably different than the moral decisions of a Jihadist; and history shows that any technology that we obtain with some useful military purpose (which is one of the uses of robots and AIs the military is reportedly exploring) will shortly find itself being used by the other side for less pleasant purposes. So, one may imagine not only a war between human opponents but between transhuman and post human opponents who reflect the same mindset as their creators only they are intellectually exponentially smarter, more powerful, and have greater life-spans. Some are even working to where nano-technology will make them self-healing. Hmmmm, “men” living for 1000 years and pursuing anything his heart wishes without fear of death or judgment? What could possibly go wrong?
Another criticism of this brave new world they are leading us to is that of population control. With men living longer and longer and being able to procreate longer and longer they are either going to have to createa scenario where we will not need the things that today are required for us to live (water, food, medicine, oxygen) or restrict the ability to reproduce. This latter point is being discussed quite openly as an August article from Wired online declares “It’s time to consider restricting human breeding.” Here, futurist Zoltan Istvan states “Given the number of children that starve each day, dwindling planetary resources and the coming transhumanist era, it might be time to consider restricting human breeding.”
Master races of intelligent beings…
Programmed moral standards with a militaristic bent…
Restricted human breeding…
Where have we heard all this before?
Of course, the whole move towards changing human beings into something not human is not new. It has its beginning in the book of Genesis promise in chapter 2 “ye shall be as gods.” and chapter 6 with the fallen angel’s rebellion against God. Futurists like Kurzweil disavow the very existence of God and instead relegate Him to the area of “metaphor” or something that they have yet to create. Ignoring the curse, and boldly proclaiming the goals they will achieve and what year they expect to achieve them, these mere mortals are the kind of folks that Psalm 2 talks about.
2 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying,
3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
God’s answer to them will be the same as then:
4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
7 I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
The rebellion and arrogance and delusion of man knows no end. Satanically inspired, these men and women who can’t even keep a networked computer free from teenaged hackers in their mother’s basements believe they are going to create gods and demigods? Amazing! It would be laughable if the movement wasn’t gaining such steam.
Where do I think this is all heading? Stay tuned for the next few posts.