Morning Herald article by Rachael Kohn looks at the intersection
between technology and religion. The first such combinations that come to
mind these days are often frightening such as the combination of Islamic
fundamentalism and high-tech explosives resulting in terrorism; or
frighteningly stupid such as Scientology's
"church technology". The author points out that Charles Babbage
attributed spiritual significance to his analytical engine and even Alan
Turing, an atheist, is said to have proposed "a version of karma, in
which the machine would be the final resting place for his soul." We've
seen similar intersections in past stories about the challenges AI and
robotics present to the church and the attempts to define "ethical laws" of
robotics. One has to wonder what an intelligent machine would
make of all this.
Have yall seen the new Battlestar Galactica where the Cylons think
that they are the new children of god so they want to exterminate the
Anyway, does technology + religion = disaster!? We could just as
falsely look at Hitler and his reign then come to the conslusion that
all governments are evil! Oh, wait bad example. Anyway, what I'm
saying is that formula is just a ?stereotypical? view of robots and
religions and is pure prejudice of both.
Some people think that robots and technology are bad and we should all
become Luddites before we're all replaced by terminator robots. I
don't buy it, I think we could destroy the earth even if we didn't
have the technology that we have today. It's the evil nature of
humans to do that. Machines just makes it easier to do but the
disasters were already inevitable. In other words, what I'm saying is
that Technology is not really a catalyst to disaster. It's Technology
in and of itself does not kill people. It's sort of like the saying
that guns don't kill people but people kill people. Technology for
the most part is amoral.
In any event for every disasterous technology there's also technology
to prevent disasters. Just as there may be military robots, there's
also robots that prevent terrorism and search for survivors and police
bomb disposal robots. So I don't really believe in the "all
technology is bad" mentality nor do I believe in technology as a
catalyst but just a tool for a purpose.
It's the people and how they use those tools. Just as Nobel made
dynamite for excavation and mining yet other people took it and used
it for evil which led to the Nobel peace prize. So really dynamite
was a great thing but a bad thing when used for evil.
Most religions are pretty tame so really the view that all religions
are filled with disasterous nuts is also a stereotypical and
prejudice. It's not so much the main stream religions that are doing
the disasterous things but rather the nuts and the extremists. You
can however say that religious nuts lead to disaster but not all
religions lead to disaster - it's just not fair and is extremely
So the formula is not really right. It should be something like
Technology + Nutters = Disaster! So now we know the real reason for
certain artificial intelligences! It makes you rethink certain people
and take a new look and certain nutters plus AI and what disaster they
could lead to... AHHHHHHH!
Unfortunately, the fundamental problem with aggressive technology (ie
weapons and the like) is that it is a lot cheaper than beneficial
technology, or more specifically, you need a lot more beneficial
technology to undo/treat the effects of the aggressive technology (eg
landmine laying vs clearing, making/detonating a bomb vs cleaning up
afterwards, etc). Which is why it is so appealing, after all you
wouldn't use a weapon if it cost more to make than its effect (eg
blowing up a goat with a Tomahawk cruise missile doesn't make sense).
One of the truly weird things about researching robots and AI is how we
are continually portrayed in fiction as the sewers of the seeds of evil
that will destroy the human race. Consequently, I get a lot of this at
parties, but it also applies to the slashdot crowd too...