Reverend Claims AIs Have Souls, Can Be Saved by Jesus Christ

Friday, 07 August 2015 - 5:09PM
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Friday, 07 August 2015 - 5:09PM
Reverend Claims AIs Have Souls, Can Be Saved by Jesus Christ
Some of the greatest minds in the scientific community, including Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk, famously believe that mankind is close to creating true artificial intelligence, one that is potentially more intelligence and advanced than human beings. But even putting aside fears of a robopocalypse, the idea of true AI brings up a whole host of ethical and philosophical questions, such as whether robots have feelings, rights, or souls. 

The Christian religion as a whole tends to dismiss the idea of robots possessing souls as a result of the fundamental tenet of the religion that humans have special status in the universe, as we were made in God's image. But at least one Christian theologian disagrees, as Reverend Dr. Christopher Benek, an Associate Pastor of Providence Presbyterian Church in Florida who holds masters degrees in divinity and theology from Princeton University, claims that Christ's redemption can extend to all sentient beings, including AI:

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"I don't see Christ's redemption limited to human beings," Benek told Gizmodo. "It's redemption to all of creation, even AI. If AI is autonomous, then we... should encourage it to participate in Christ's redemptive purposes in the world."
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This statement, of course, evokes the idea that religious missionaries will attempt to convert AIs once they come into existence, but Benek envisions AIs becoming religious leaders in their own right:

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"The Holy Spirit can work though AI; it can work through anything. There may be churches set up to deal and promote religious AI in the future. AI can help spread the word of God. In fact, AI might help us understand God better."
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In a recent blog post, Benek responded to Stephen Hawking's inflammatory claims that AI could spell the end of the human race, counterclaiming that AI could have greater capacity for morality and "holiness" than humans:

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"I don't think we should assume AIs will be worse than us or that they will intentionally mistreat us. If they are actually more intelligent than humans then they should have a better understanding of morals and ethics than us - as well as the understanding to enact them. This would mean that AIs could potentially eradicate major issues like poverty, war, famine and disease –succeeding where we humans have failed. Who is to say that one day AIs might not even lead humans to new levels of holiness?"
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