Recently, amazing claims have been made about robots. One of them is that people will start to fall in love with robots. Another is that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will one day eclipse man. There is even the claim that AI will one day eclipse God.
Writing for zdnet.com, Greg Nichols (2/8/19) penned an article, “Robot Love: Why romance with machines is a foregone conclusion.” The subtitle is “Sex robots are sold for physical pleasure, but emotionally fulfilling relationships with machines is closer than you may think.” It’s incredibly dehumanizing for creatures made in the image of God to engage in such mechanical acts.
Is that “love”? I reached out to Dr. Robert J. Marks for a comment on the idea of falling in love with robots. Marks is the Director of The Bradley Center for Natural & Artificial Intelligence at Baylor University.
Marks told me via email: “Those proclaiming that exclusive truth lives totally in naturalism are constrained to a sadly narrow view of the world. In their constrained silo, love and romance must have a materialistic explanation. But computers, including AI, are limited. They are all constrained to follow programmed instructions called algorithms. Things nonalgorithmic are not computable. Human creativity, sentience, consciousness and qualia are not computable. Can anyone write code to explain to a computer your true sensory experience of enjoying hot buttered sweet corn? Sex with a human-appearing robot can be simulated, but love and romance are not computable. Those married to the love of their lives for forty years like me know this.”
A few years ago, when stories were coming out along the lines that AI was a potential threat to humanity, I interviewed Dr. Marks on the radio.
For example, I asked him about this quote from Stephen Hawking about AI: “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” Marks responded, “Well, I think it’s actually just hyperbole. And I think that people who say these sorts of things need to go back to the fundamentals and understand what computers can’t and can do.”
Marks observed, “A computer will never be creative. It will never have consciousness. It will never have understanding. It only does what you tell it to do….They will never have a soul. They will never have an understanding of what they do. They will never have a consciousness. Computers can only do something which is algorithmic….a fancy word for recipe. You have to give a computer step-by-step instructions on doing something, just like a recipe.”
But all of these claims get us back to a core issue: What is a human being and why do we have intrinsic value? For what robot did Jesus die?
In my opinion, over-glorifying man-made machines is just a symptom of a godless worldview—that sees humanity as a glorified animal or a chemical machine, as opposed to a special creation of God, who made us in His image.
In his book, The Death of Humanity (2016), history professor Dr. Richard Weikart writes: “As many intellectuals have abandoned the Judeo-Christian sanctity-of-life ethic in favor of secular philosophies, we have descended into a quagmire of inhumanity. Some today view humans as nothing more than sophisticated machines or just another type of animal. For them, humans are nothing special—just another random arrangement of particles in an impersonal cosmos.” This is the view of evolutionary materialists, who believe life is merely a chance product of time and material.
Going even further, AI will one day replace God, according to some. Dan Brown, author of the anti-Christian novel, The DaVinci Code, says: “Humanity no longer needs God but may with the help of artificial intelligence develop a new form of collective consciousness that fulfils the role of religion. Are we naïve today to believe that the gods of the present will survive and be here in a hundred years?” But no robot has risen from the dead, so I predict that 100 years from now, Jesus Christ will still be worshiped all over the globe.
Robots may be great tools, but they are no substitute for humanity, no substitute for God, and no substitute for love.
Perhaps Allan Sherman, the singing humorist (“Hello, Muddah, Hello, Faddah”) had the best idea. In 1963, he did a song called “Automation”: “I thought automation was keen, / Till you were replaced by a ten ton machine…. / You’re a girl who’s soft, warm and sweet / But you’re only human, and that’s obsolete…./ How could I have known, when the 503 / Started to blink, it was winking at me, dear / I thought it was just some mishap, / When it sidled over and sat on my lap / But when it said ‘I love you’ and gave me a hug, dear, / That’s when I pulled out its plug!”