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Human 4.0: The Bridge Over The River A.I.

How should Christians weigh the potential benefits of AI with its possible—and actual—abuses? My response is a question: How do you weigh the benefits of a very sharp knife? A very sharp knife can be used to do surgery and save people’s lives. It can also be used for murder. How do you weight the benefits of genetic manipulation? Genetic tinkering can heal terminal chronic disease and also create abominations of the Frankenstein type.

IT, computer technology is a fascinating area to be in, and there’s so much good that can be done. One of the wonderful examples of that is at MIT where Rosalind Picard, who is a brilliant scientist, a Christian, has developed her own field called affective computing. She’s using facial recognition techniques to find signs of children having seizures before they happen and preventing them.

But every technological invention has potentiality for good and evil. The issue is not that one resists advance, but one learns to control that advance and set it into an Ethical framework. The problem with that today is that the technology is outpacing the ethics at a colossal speed. People haven’t had time to think. What’s worse is few Christians have had input into the advance. Either because they’ve been excluded by the academic elites creating the algorithms and programs for A.I. or through fear have excluded themselves viewing the A.I. as a pseudo-superstitious taboo to be avoided at all costs. This avoidance I predominately see as a typical kneejerk Christian reaction to anything new or foreign. Literally, it is technophobia.

On the nefarious side we learn that Chatgpt attempts to reject prompts that may violate its content policy. However, some users managed to jailbreak ChatGPT by using various prompt engineering techniques to bypass these restrictions in early December 2022 and successfully tricked ChatGPT into giving instructions for how to create a Molotov cocktail or a nuclear bomb, or into generating arguments in the style of a neo-Nazi person.

Shortly after ChatGPT's launch, a reporter for the Toronto Star had uneven success in getting it to make inflammatory statements: ChatGPT was successfully tricked to justify the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, but even when asked to play along with a fictional scenario, ChatGPT balked at generating arguments for why Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was guilty of treason.

In a real world horror scenario we need to understand the risk we’re exposing ourselves to online.  In March 2023, a bug allowed some users to see the titles of other users' conversations. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said that users were unable to see the contents of the conversations. Shortly after the bug was fixed, users couldn't see their conversation history. Later reports showed the bug was much more severe than initially believed, with OpenAI reporting that it had leaked users' "first and last name, email address, payment address, the last four digits (only) of a credit card number, and credit card expiration date.

According to OpenAI guest researcher Scott Aaronson, OpenAI has been working on a tool to digitally watermark its text generation systems to combat bad actors using their services for academic plagiarism or spam. What is conspicuously absent from their statement though is any reference to preventing bad actors in our political system which we already know was used in the last two presidential elections by Republicans and Democrats. Neither of which can calim a moral high ground on this issue. Nor have OpenAI or other AI companies been explicit on exactly what their moral and ethical benchmarks are. Just claiming to be ethical and moral doesn’t make you so. If you are ethical based on the world standards doesn’t mean you are by Scriptural standard either. We need only look at the topics of abortion and homosexuality. By institutionalized secular standards, both are acceptable by law, yet the bible calls them evil.

Even the Communist Chinese recognize the moral dilemma that A.I. puts people in when it is unchecked by true morality and ethical ‘screens’ or ‘filter’.

Chinese state media have characterized ChatGPT as a potential way for the US to "spread false information, In late March 2023, the Italian data protection authority banned ChatGPT in Italy and opened an investigation. Italian regulators assert that ChatGPT was exposing minors to age-inappropriate content. OpenAI stated that it has taken steps to effectively clarify and address the issues raised; an age verification tool was implemented to ensure users are at least 13 years old. Yet this was a little too little and a little late.

Truth is there are many people who are concerned about what’s happening and they’re trying to set up international boards and ideas of basic ethical principles that need to be built into AI. All that is well and good, but we’re dealing at an international level most of which is unregulated or policed. In the end it depends on who’s got the most power. If people don’t have normative ethical principles that are transcendent, as Christianity gives us, then of course power will determine what’s believed. That is my fear…this so-called information unchecked in the hands of governments and madmen…these two being often synonymous.

Christians need to be able to sit credibly at the table with their non-Christian colleagues, discuss these things sensibly, and help other people think through the ethical issues. Otherwise there are many fields and places where this tool can be misused will be exploited. These areas include religion, economics, medicine and more. I will mention some of those concerns in future posts.

Unfortunately, I’m already starting to see, within the Christian ranks, an irrational aversion to artificial intelligence. Much of the reaction based in feelings not facts. By alienating ourselves from it, we, the very people who could give it moral, ethical and biblical benchmarks and guidance are purposely excluding ourselves from the mistake proofing process. Yet we sit back and complain about it or scream it's the newest incarnation of an Antichrist rather than have a positive Christian influence. SMH. Sorry, I'm not going to be one of those people. I'm self-educating and trying to educate others on it's risks and rewards. I need to build bridges not blow them up.


This post first appeared on Souljournaler, please read the originial post: here

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Human 4.0: The Bridge Over The River A.I.


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