What is Artifical General Intelligence, if not an idol?
'AGI can learn to accomplish any intellectual task that human beings or other animals can perform.'
Long past are the days when we thought ourselves more capable than our computers.
Just ask your satnav!
You may correct it 1/10 times, but it corrects you 9 out of the 10 remaining times, and will soon improve.
Playing Deep Blue at chess was child's play compared to the Deepmind's new chess algorithms.
It was thought the best players would easily outmaster AlphaGo, with more piece permutations than known atoms in the universe, but the world master was easily overcome.
The later versions learn the rules, as they play and need no teaching.
Even Diplomacy, a game that relies on trust, personal interaction and a combination of bluff, foresight and integrity is now all but cornered by AI.
Protein folding and drug interactions have been far better predicted by Alphafold and other programs than human chemical engineers, even using their own modelling tools.
Life is bound to change in major ways, in law, in medicine, in commerce, in war, even in relationships and politics, as a result.
Yet is the obsolescence of humanity nigh?
Are the great pioneers right to think we will no longer need human minds, or must yoke ourselves to machines to match them?
A minority of enthusiasts claim Turing's subjective test of machine 'personality' has already been met.
However large language models and other similar forms of AI are iterative, imitative, linear, incapable of independent analogical reason and as bound by small incremental change as neo-Darwinism's failed attempts to explain elaborate and complex designs.
Lamda may trick a willing participant into imagining sentience and self consciousness, but only by its programmers' clever parroting and selection of texts on that subject.
As to Articial General Intelligence, life is not a game with established rules, and modelling reality is a lot less easy than we think, just look at your local weather forecast for the next two hours in patchy cloud. The maths of fluid turbulence is till in its infancy, so are many areas of aerodynamics, physics and organic chemistry, as dragonfly flight, the enigmatic fifth force, photosynthesis, neurotransmission and olfaction all loudly proclaim.
If idolatry is the worship of the work of our hands, AGI qualifies, par excellence. Rev.9.20, 2 Ki.22.17 2 Chr.34.15.
It may even become key to the most seductive idol of all, yet to be revealed, the abominaton that desolates.
The idea the human mind, or even animal minds, can be mimicked and surpassed not just in the rigid confines of a game, or a constrained field, but in all pursuits is predicated on the materialistic assumption that minds are no more than circuitry.
That is fideism, of a materialistic species, and the Bible warns us away from it.
The Divine Image cannot be captured by dead silicon.
Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.
They have mouths, but they speak (meditate) not: eyes have they, but they see (perceive) not:
They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:
They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.
They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.
The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.
But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the LORD.
It is a purely materialistic, evolutionary assumption that thought is entirely & only the direct effect and result of neural circuitry, not its mere footprint.
Scripture specifically refutes it.
'O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto Thee:'
'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?
He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.'
It is a new delusion, based on an old lie.
'Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.
I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.'
'And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.'
We look for real advances and for close medical and scientific collaboration with exciting new tools. The author saw a published 70% reduction in inpatient hospital cardiac arrest rates with simple AI systems used in combination with more ward staff vigilance and intervention.
However to expect machines to become minds, to gain sentience or self consciousness, and be capable of the creativity of Mendelsohn, Moses, Clerk Maxwell, or Turner, not just pallid imitators, like hackneyed art fraudsters. To become capable of analogy, perception, conceptual linkage and global insight, not just a dredging reanalysis of old thoughts is and will remain far beyond machines. Computers lack aesthetic sense, they too, like so many graduates now, are enslaved by the lowest common denominator.
'O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knew all this [Nebuchadnezzar's abasement for pride];
But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified.'
Useful comments by John Lennox on AGI, lecture sample 1
, lecture sample 2
. His book, 2084.