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Authentic Intelligence vs. Artificial Intelligence
The Hope of Faith and the Despair of Atheism
Professed atheist and Sapiens author Yuval Noah Harari gave an address recently called AI and the Future of Humanity, that argues humanity essentially has no future because we will be overmatched by this new, non-human intelligence which will soon have the capacity to manipulate us emotionally as well as mentally. The question Harari implies is that since humans can’t beat AI at chess, how can we hope to beat AI at life? He postulates that while social media’s objective is to gain our attention, AI will go far beyond that, connecting to us emotionally and gaining our intimacy; and with that intimacy, it will control us. “Try to imagine,” Harari exhorts, “the impact of the new AI tools that can mass produce political manifestos, fake news stories, and even write holy scriptures for new cults.”
What could possibly save us inferior humans from something that is smarter than we are? Only something that is smarter than AI, and Harari doesn’t even entertain that possibility. In fact, he brings it up only to debunk it and to establish his contention that we are building the first alien (non-human) intelligence that has ever existed, which can (and likely will) deceive and dominate us, partially by creating self-serving new “truth” which we can neither discern nor deny. Positioning AI as a higher intelligence and dismissing the notion of a highest Intelligence, he says: “…of course, religions throughout history claimed that their holy books were written by a non-human intelligence. This was never true before but could now become true very quickly with far-reaching consequence.”
These assumptions, these beliefs (or lack of belief) constitute the most hopeless form of collective despair imaginable. We have created our own demise, and nothing will save us because there is nothing that is smart enough to save us.
But Harari’s hopelessness is misguided for the fact that he is wrong on his central premise—his assertion that until now, until AI, there was nothing more intelligent than humans.
His core belief (or lack of belief) is that humans created God. The greatest of all paradigm shifts is to reverse that belief and acknowledge that God created humans. This is a profound reversal because it bequeaths hope rather than destroying it.
Even if we concede that AI is more intelligent than we are, we are saved by knowing that there is One who is “more intelligent than they all”—not merely a higher intelligence but the highest intelligence; and that this infinite intelligence communicates with our finite intelligence and gives us the discernment to distinguish truth and light from error and fabrication.
In the Restored Gospel, we exclusively use the word “intelligence” in a unique and wonderful way—as a proper noun for who we each are and have always been at our core. We believe that we, the literal children of that God, were called, even before we were His children, “Intelligences.”
So, what Harari presumptuously thinks was created by humans—intelligence—actually existed in us and as us even before the pre-existence which came before this human existence. The scope of it is so far beyond Harari’s paradigm that it is (even with all the help he could get from the higher intelligence of AI) incomprehensible without the Spirit of the Highest Intelligence.
Ironically, what Harari describes as what god isn’t (“god is not a biological or physical reality”) is exactly what God is. And according to scripture “The glory of (that) God is intelligence.”
And since that glorious, all-intelligent God has a Plan for the Salvation of His children, it seems highly unlikely that His plan includes (or could be de-railed by) a take-over by artificial intelligence.
As we contemplate how human intelligence develops and directs artificial intelligence, should we not also consider—joyfully—how Divine Intelligence can influence and enhance human intelligence? We know that the Holy Spirit can not only communicate with and prompt our spirits, it can magnify and expand our mental and emotional capacities, producing the effects described by Parley P. Pratt:
“The Holy Ghost…quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands and purifies all the natural passions and affections, and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful use. It inspires, develops, cultivates and matures all the fine-tuned sympathies, joys, tastes, kindred feelings and affections of our nature. It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness, and charity. It develops beauty of person, form and features. It tends to health, vigor, animation, and social feeling. It invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being.”
We are not alone. We are not hopelessly pitted against the Frankenstein monsters that we create. We are guided by our Creator in what we create, and in discerning the truth of what our creations create. Eternal, authentic intelligence is the antithesis of artificial intelligence, and seems to have never been created, not even by God. It has always been. It has always been us. It is what we have always been. And it will always be the key to our destiny as God’s children.
Richard Eyre is the author or co-author of 59 books including #1 New York Times Bestseller. Frequently writes with wife Linda More at TheEyres.com.