Do Machines + Religion = Disaster?

Posted 21 Jul 2005 at 20:09 UTC by steve Share This

A Sydney Morning Herald article by Rachael Kohn looks at the intersection between technology and religion. The first such combinations that come to mind these days are often frightening such as the combination of Islamic fundamentalism and high-tech explosives resulting in terrorism; or frighteningly stupid such as Scientology's "church technology". The author points out that Charles Babbage attributed spiritual significance to his analytical engine and even Alan Turing, an atheist, is said to have proposed "a version of karma, in which the machine would be the final resting place for his soul." We've seen similar intersections in past stories about the challenges AI and robotics present to the church and the attempts to define "ethical laws" of robotics. One has to wonder what an intelligent machine would make of all this.

Battlestar Galactica in Stereo, posted 24 Jul 2005 at 13:53 UTC by The Swirling Brain » (Master)

Have yall seen the new Battlestar Galactica where the Cylons think that they are the new children of god so they want to exterminate the humans?

Anyway, does technology + religion = disaster!? We could just as falsely look at Hitler and his reign then come to the conslusion that all governments are evil! Oh, wait bad example. Anyway, what I'm saying is that formula is just a ?stereotypical? view of robots and religions and is pure prejudice of both.

Some people think that robots and technology are bad and we should all become Luddites before we're all replaced by terminator robots. I don't buy it, I think we could destroy the earth even if we didn't have the technology that we have today. It's the evil nature of humans to do that. Machines just makes it easier to do but the disasters were already inevitable. In other words, what I'm saying is that Technology is not really a catalyst to disaster. It's Technology in and of itself does not kill people. It's sort of like the saying that guns don't kill people but people kill people. Technology for the most part is amoral.

In any event for every disasterous technology there's also technology to prevent disasters. Just as there may be military robots, there's also robots that prevent terrorism and search for survivors and police bomb disposal robots. So I don't really believe in the "all technology is bad" mentality nor do I believe in technology as a catalyst but just a tool for a purpose.

It's the people and how they use those tools. Just as Nobel made dynamite for excavation and mining yet other people took it and used it for evil which led to the Nobel peace prize. So really dynamite was a great thing but a bad thing when used for evil.

Most religions are pretty tame so really the view that all religions are filled with disasterous nuts is also a stereotypical and prejudice. It's not so much the main stream religions that are doing the disasterous things but rather the nuts and the extremists. You can however say that religious nuts lead to disaster but not all religions lead to disaster - it's just not fair and is extremely prejudice.

So the formula is not really right. It should be something like Technology + Nutters = Disaster! So now we know the real reason for certain artificial intelligences! It makes you rethink certain people and take a new look and certain nutters plus AI and what disaster they could lead to... AHHHHHHH!

cost of evil < cost of good, posted 25 Jul 2005 at 05:53 UTC by marcin » (Journeyer)

Unfortunately, the fundamental problem with aggressive technology (ie weapons and the like) is that it is a lot cheaper than beneficial technology, or more specifically, you need a lot more beneficial technology to undo/treat the effects of the aggressive technology (eg landmine laying vs clearing, making/detonating a bomb vs cleaning up afterwards, etc). Which is why it is so appealing, after all you wouldn't use a weapon if it cost more to make than its effect (eg blowing up a goat with a Tomahawk cruise missile doesn't make sense).


A baddie writes, posted 26 Jul 2005 at 11:09 UTC by dogsbody_d » (Master)

One of the truly weird things about researching robots and AI is how we are continually portrayed in fiction as the sewers of the seeds of evil that will destroy the human race. Consequently, I get a lot of this at parties, but it also applies to the slashdot crowd too...

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