Can Artificial Intelligence create a new system of morality?
Posted in News by Benham Brothers | May 10th, 2018
The ability to distinguish between good and evil is vital for the survival of any civil society. The question is, who gets to decide the definition of right and wrong?
For several centuries, Western civilization has relied on Judeo-Christian values to set this standard. But in recent times, with the secularization of Europe and the United States, some people are offering a new solution.
Last week, Ambarish Mitra, the CEO of Blippar, which is a company committed to artificial intelligence, wrote an article titled “We Can Train AI (artificial intelligence) to Identify Good and Evil and Then Use It to Teach Us Morality.”
He stated: “Morality is one of the most deeply human considerations in existence. The very nature of the human condition pushes us to try to distinguish right from wrong, and the existence of other humans pushes us to treat others by those values.”
Now, reading that from a Christian perspective, a verse that immediately comes to mind is Ecclesiastes 3:11, which says: “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”
Eternity – or conscience, a moral code and intrinsic value – is set in every human heart. We’re not just globs of matter, but inside our inner person, we reflect God’s image. We are moral creatures, which is why right and wrong matter – to all of us – regardless of how secular society becomes.
But in a culture that denies God and, instead, demonizes Him, there’s got to be some way to establish a new standard of good and evil, because secularism has no solution for the moral digression of humanity.
Until now …
Mitra states: “Though some universal maxims exist in most cultures, don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t lie, there is no single perfect system of morality with which everyone agrees. But AI could help us create one.”
He continues: “Let us assume that because morality is a derivation of humanity, a perfect moral system exists somewhere in our consciousness. Deriving that perfect moral system should simply therefore be a matter of collecting and analyzing massive amounts of data on human opinions and conditions and producing the correct result.”
This is mind-blowing to us. Can you imagine jihadists overloading the “opinions” of this A.I. system? Or Muslim-dominated countries where Shariah law is the standard? Or Antifa members possibly providing enough data to tip the balance of A.I. toward their way of thinking as our ultimate standard? Or Klan members, etc.? The list goes on.
The bottom line is the secular worldview has no standard. As a result, articles like this become possible, because eternity is set in the human heart – we all want structure in a moral code. It’s just whose code is supreme that’s the issue.
This type of thinking didn’t happen in a vacuum. The church throughout history has been “the pillar and support of the truth,” as 1 Timothy 3:15 states. So if we’ve gotten to the point where we are asking for artificial intelligence to define morality, the church has failed to be the church.
The writer of Hebrews warned: “Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:13-14).
Moral maturity comes when we recognize God, submit to His rule and learn to do what He says about right and wrong. No amount of artificial intelligence can create a perfect system – because one already exists.