Just thought I’d throw a question out today and see what come of it. Even since I learned BASIC back when everyone was raving about the Apple IIe, I’ve been fascinated by artificial intelligence. I longed to enter a BASIC version of the ELIZA program I had found in a book into my Commodore 64 but held back because I didn’t have any permanent storage in the early days and loathed the idea of all that code disappearing when my computer was turned off. (I eventually got that great little “tape recorder” data storage device and, wonder of wonders, an actual floppy disk drive some time later.)
I believe that the Church is absolutely right about the spirit in man: that the human mind is a product of both the physical brain and the human spirit granted by God, and that if something is wrong with either necessary component, physical or spiritual, then the mind is affected. I wrote about this for the Tomorrow’s World magazine here: “Mystery of the Mind”. (Note for those to whom this is new: not an immortal soul, but an immaterial spirit. They are not the same.)
Of course, the reductive, materialistic naturalism that passes for science these days stresses that the spirit in man–indeed, “mind” itself as it is generally understood–is an illusion and that we are simply the product of purely physical processes, determined by physical law and without true free will. (Though there is evidence that this is false, including “downward causation” from mind to brain.)
Now, while most scientists I have read–at least concerning modern research–have come to see that the brain is not simply an “advanced computer” but is very different. However, it is still hoped that computers can be used to model the brain, even by mimicking its own structure, such that intelligence, and even consciousness, is achieved.
So, here’s the question(s)… Does the truth about “human mind” equaling “physical brain plus spirit in man” mean that the attempts to achieve artificial intelligence that is indistinguishable from human intelligence is doomed to failure? If you think so, how would we expect the progression of such work to go and how would its destined failure begin to manifest itself in results? And if you think not–that is, if you think it is still possible for artificial intelligence to be created in the future that will be indistinguishable from human intelligence (as many scientists, of course, expect to be able to do), what would be the implications for understanding the spirit in man?
I’ve got my own thoughts on such research, but I’d like to hear yours. Have a wonderful Sabbath!