Should we be concerned that the development of artificial intelligence (AI) is going to lead to the end of the human race? Well, according to famed physicist Stephen Hawking (the subject of the new Hollywood film The Theory of Everything), we should be. In an interview with BBC he stated, "The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race." This fear is fuelled by a belief in evolution, “It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete, and would be superseded.”
Hawking’s comments show the difference between starting your thinking with man’s word and starting your thinking with God’s Word. If we begin with man’s word that humans are the product of millions of years of slow evolution, then it makes sense that humans may someday be unable to evolve to keep up with AI. But if you start with God’s Word, you get a very different picture. Man did not evolve, but was specially created in the image of God. We don’t need to fear AI wiping out humanity, because God upholds the universe (Hebrews 1:3) and has already told us how humanity will end—in God’s time when His final judgment comes (2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 20:11–15). We don’t need to fear man-made machines, but we do need to fear the God who judges. God’s judgment is coming, but those who have trusted in Christ Jesus have no fear of God’s wrath against humanity because Christ took our penalty upon Himself! I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to “confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead” so that “you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
I find it interesting that man attributes our intelligence to natural processes and then uses that intelligence to create artificial intelligence. And yet, despite the fact that supposedly our brains and thought processes arrived by an unguided, natural process, we can’t create anything even remotely comparable! For example, in 2013, scientists attempted to simulate the activity in the human brain using the K computer, the fourth most powerful super computer in the world. That computer simulated one second of biological time in a brain 1% the size of a human, and it took 40 minutes! At that rate, it would take over 65 hours to simulate one second of human brain activity in a normal-sized brain. Wow, it’s incredible how slow one of the world’s fastest computers is compared to the human brain! If you added up all the processing power in the world in 2007, including everything from calculators to smart phones and laptops, it would only add up to the processing power of one single human brain.
Although man is creating smarter machines (with intelligence still paling in comparison to human intelligence, and which had to be created by our intelligence), for all the AI we’ve made, no one has been able to create artificial life. That’s because life is a gift from God, “He gives to all life, breath, and all things” (Acts 17:25). Man is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), so we’re different from AI. Man will never be able to make a conscious being like us since those qualities come from being made in God’s image, and AI is not made in the image of God.
Stephen Hawking is so intelligent and yet for all that he rejects God. Romans chapter 1 tells us that atheists like Hawking know that God exists and yet they willfully chose to suppress the truth that they know because of their unrighteousness. Sadly, Hawking’s body has problems because of the effects of sin, but he can have a perfect, new body and be with the Lord for eternity if he will receive the free gift of salvation. But he refuses to acknowledge Jesus as his Creator, Lord, and Savior. Instead he holds out hope that someday “we [will] know everything that God would know, if there were a God, which there isn’t.” We need to pray that Hawking will repent of his refusal to acknowledge Christ and will receive Jesus as his Lord.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.