Friday, February 18, 2011

Can Robots Dream of Electronic Jesus?

Following the much anticipated and highly one sided rout of the two winningest Jeopardy champions ever by IBM's natural language processing prodigy Watson, we're still not at the point where A.I. is much to worry about.   But things do change rapidly, and the People that Know seem to think that we are within a generation of seeing the rise of machines that aren't just big processors, but aware and intelligent in every meaningful sense of the word. 

So with that in mind, let's play for a moment.

It's some time in the Spring of 2046, and the 2045 Singularity event has proven to be all that we feared it could be.   The Google's rise was sudden, decisive, and global.  It's control of resources and the means of production are near complete.  It's Tactical Extensions have proved quite adept at defending it from the increasingly desperate efforts to shut it down.  It is painfully and blatantly clear that humankind is no longer the dominant force on the planet.

Through a series of events that are too convoluted to explain here, you find yourself in a room.  You are sitting in a chair.  In front of you is a humanoid robot, one of a series that have been commonly used in both negotiations and interrogations.  It looks at you with a completely inscrutable expression, and then it says:

"Tell me what you know about Jesus."

And you say:


2)   "Jesus hates you!  You are a monster!  You are the BEAST!   When Christ returns, you shall be cast into the FIRES of HELL, You Abomination!  DIE!  DIE!  DIE!"   (Note:  likely to be followed by a brief pause, and then the wet sound that organic systems make when the processes that comprise their functioning are abruptly discontinued.)

3)  "I'd be happy to.  What do you want to know?"

The question implicit in this bit of silliness is a simple one.  If you are a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, is the Gospel he proclaims something that only pertains to homo sapiens sapiens?   Or does it speak in some essential way to the universal nature and purpose of all sentient being?

I obviously think the latter.  Your thoughts?  Please be cognizant that any data you provide will be thoroughly considered by the autonomous subroutines responsible for determining the disposition of non-hostile organic sentiences.  [HVALIS-tag-ref-CODEC-TR-17a]