WILL COMPUTERS EVER DESTROY US AND DOMINATE THE WORLD?
by Shawn Brasseaux
It is a fascinating concept! With electronics becoming increasingly complicated, more powerful, and playing bigger roles in our daily lives, some people wonder about so-called “artificial intelligence” eventually getting out of control. Will computers ever gain the wherewithal to outsmart us, war against us, and wipe us from existence? Could there ever be a planet Earth run entirely by robots, with the human race extinct?
The technology we enjoy today was once science fiction. As robots become more efficient, automation thus multiplying, fewer human workers will be needed and millions of jobs will be lost. Self-driving cars are already being built and tested (albeit limited at the moment). At stores, self-checkout counters allow customers to purchase items with little to no interaction with a human cashier. Drones are already delivering packages by mail. Robots can place phone calls and actually understand human speech patterns so as to communicate with human callers. Physicians can even examine patients long-distance through computers connected via the internet. Voice-controlled machines—virtual assistants (think of the “talking” software in smartphones and smart-speakers)—are more commonplace than ever. With our spoken voice, we can command our cellphone to do an internet search, or direct a smart speaker to order products from websites. One hundred years ago, this would have been all been considered “magic.” Ten years ago, it was somewhat conceivable but not a reality. Today, well, it is existent!!
With the above scenarios now true, we begin to see problems arising. If computers can mimic human speech, if they can perform tasks that we cannot (or can execute jobs quicker than we can), then who is to say that they would not entirely replace us at some point? Would these robots ever become conscious of the fact that they would have to eliminate us in order for them to run the world? Is it possible that they would actually go through with our annihilation? For decades now, these ideas have been entertained. Could there be any merit in them?
Individuals who fear computers rebelling against us and wiping out human civilization are interested in a narrative all too familiar. Was there ever a time in human history when we decided to turn away from and ignore our origin? To put it bluntly, did not our father Adam turn on his Creator, rebelling against Him and doing what he could to eliminate Him from his mind (Genesis chapter 3)? Sure! Do not hesitate to believe it! Did not the nations forsake the one true God so that they originated the world religions at the Tower of Babel (Genesis chapter 11; Romans 1:18-32)? Yes!
If ever there were a day when computers deliberately plotted against and conquered mankind, it would be the ultimate testimony to the Bible dictum, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7). However, this author does not adopt—and will, quite frankly, never espouse—the notion that computers will destroy us and become the chief rulers of the world. If he were an atheist, then, of course, he would fret immeasurably, for he would see humans as the highest form of beings. If humans were ever “de-throned,” we would have no hope in and of ourselves to overthrow our new rulers. Since he is a Bible-believing Christian, however, he knows that the Lord Jesus Christ is there (as present as ever) and He will make the final decision as to how far mankind will be allowed to destroy himself. The God of the Bible has let—and will continue to allow—mankind reap the consequences of his willfulness and sinfulness. Nevertheless, He is also full of pity, so man will never make a full end of himself. Despite what man has done to destroy God’s creation, God will fulfill His original purpose in it.
Science-fiction books and films—originating from people with great imaginations—fuel the fear and pessimism that come with “artificial intelligence.” Let us go ahead and call it paranoia. While almost anything is possible (what is reality today was inconceivable decades ago, recall), we had better start concerning ourselves with more important matters than computers mimicking human thought to the point where they overtake us in the world. Societal problems plague us, issues that computers know nothing about. Humans will have to look to something beyond themselves to solve those problems… and even computers causing the human race to go extinct are unable to purge us of the evil that lies within us and throughout the world system.
The fastest supercomputers of our day are still no match for our brain. It is illogical to ever entertain the notion that the invention will become more powerful than the inventor, that the creation will conquer the creator. It simply cannot be, whether in the natural world or the spiritual world. No effect is greater than its cause. The creature is surely never to become the Creator—except in the land of folly, in the deluded mind of the creature. Once the creature moves down that path, he will then be led to believe that someone or something will try to overtake him. Frankly, the fears associated with “supreme” artificial intelligence are simply man’s guilty conscience reminding him of his rebellion against his Creator and resulting Fall back in the Garden of Eden!
Returning to the issue of the creation (computer) rebelling against the creator (human), the most significant reality is that we have made every attempt—and are still doing so—to eliminate the LORD God from our thinking. Our Creator is often not in that discussion about uncontrollable artificial intelligence. There is always the issue of what we are going to do to protect or improve ourselves. (The same can be said of the conservationists and environmentalists trying to use rules and regulations to keep Earth perpetually going!) Almighty God is simply not in the picture. When we adopt the Bible viewpoint, we see that the Creator God has an ultimate purpose in the heavens and the earth. It involves people, not robots, but people just like ourselves. When we read about Jesus Christ returning at His glorious Second Coming—Revelation chapter 19—He is fighting sinful men who have tried to take His throne from Him and annihilate His people Israel. He is the conquering Hero; His enemies vanquished. Sinful man is far more a threat to himself than computers are to him!
Ultimately, what we need to be concerned with is not computers dominating the world and taking our lives. The far greater threat is that sin will rob us of our spiritual lives. Without faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, we will go to a Devil’s Hell forever! “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). “For God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Christ “was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:25). This is how we are saved from the eternal penalty of our sin and sins! “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:4-5). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
Friend, we had better be far more concerned with passing from spiritual death to spiritual life, than whether or not machines will replace human civilization. God would be just in letting the works of our own hands turn on us, but that simply will not happen. He Himself will take care of that. No matter how far man will go, there will be a day of reckoning. All that is wrong will be set right. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself will see to it.