Is Artificial Intelligence a Threat to Humanity?
Fantastic, we might call the latest prediction of Stephen Hawking, the famous British physicist and cosmologist, formulated in a recent interview given to the BBC in mid-December:
"Humans, who are constrained by slow biological evolution , could not compete and could be replaced by thinking machines."
We do not call into question Hawking's enormous scientific contribution, which, consistent with Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, holds that space and time have a beginning in the Big Bang and an end within the "black holes", their main contribution, which like many of the theories about the universe, is being questioned by other theoretical physicists.
However, the issue of human evolution and its creative capabilities in relation to technology go out of its scientific orbit and streak in fiction. Let's begin by recalling some of Hawking's personality traits that have to do with his current worldview. Hawking suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a degenerative neuromotor disease that has gradually led to almost total paralysis, until he is condemned to a wheelchair and an inability to move. His condition forces him to communicate through a voice-generating device, which he activates through the facial muscles, since he can not even move his fingers to type a computer. It is to be admired his desire to maintain an intense and enriching intellectual activity as a theoretical physicist, even though his mind is cloistered in an immobile body. However, this situation seems somewhat contradictory to the comparison between mind and artificial intelligence. In a situation such as his, how can you minimize the thinking capacity that rises in your case on your own body paralyzed ?, would not be more consistent with his situation the Aristotelian idea that although the spirit needs the body to act, it does not need him to survive? Leaving aside the philosophy, it seems certain that Hawking's way of thinking has evolved from dubious agnosticism to a materialistic scientism and a practicing atheism, while still taking into account in his works the idea of God. In his book "A Brief History of Time," published in 1988, Hawking said that:
"If we were to discover a complete theory (of the universe) it would be the definitive triumph of human logic, because then we would meet the mind of God,"
and in his work "The Great Design" (2010) ends up excluding God as Creator.
According to Francisco José Soler Gil, a professor at the University of Bremen, and author, among other works, of "Materialist Mythology of Science" (2013), that the results of physics, biology or neurology at all provide a new basis for the old atheistic materialism. We can even affirm the opposite, which has contributed (especially from the field of cosmology) unpublished arguments in favor of the doctrine of creation (theories of "fine tuning"). The fact is that it does not seem legitimate or intellectually honest to confuse scientific conclusions with their interpretations, a commonplace feature in Stephen Hawking's scientific disseminator.
In the recent BBC interview, Stephen Hawking, in response to a question about the modernization of communication technologies, says that
"efforts to create thinking machines pose a threat to our existence"
"the development of intelligence artificial could mean the end of the human race. "
He adds that the primitive forms of artificial intelligence developed so far have already proven to be very useful, but he fears the consequences of the creation of something that could equal or surpass human beings, since these machines "could become aware of themselves and to be redesigned at an ever-increasing pace ". Is this science or is it that Hawking has made a dent in the behavior of the evil computer Hal, in the famous Stanley Kubrick film "2001: A Space Odyssey"?
Like almost everything that Hawking says, it has an effect of causing almost inmediate polemic, in which many scientists of great value have participated. Rollo Carpenter, the British computer creator of Cleverbot, software designed to speak as a human being, who is also the one using Hawking himself, says:
"I think we will be for a long time ahead of technology and that it will develop its potential to solve many of the world's problems, but we can not absolutely predict what will happen if a machine exceeds our own intelligence, nor can we know if we will benefit infinitely, or be ignored, marginalized or destroyed by it. "
It seems to me more realistic than the British mathematician Alan Turing (1912-1954), one of the fathers of artificial intelligence, said of "intelligent machines". In Turing's possession is to have been able to decipher the Nazi codes during World War II. Well, Turing said that
"if machines are to be infallible, then they can not be intelligent,"
"we should develop fallible machines capable of learning from their mistakes."
More recently, Manuel López Michelone, professor of mathematics at the Autonomous University of Mexico and a great teacher of chess, said that
"nothing that does not have self-consciousness can be considered intelligent"
and here is where we go, because in its answer Hawking, imbued with an excessive materialistic interpretation of the human mind, Hawking adds to the absurd reductionism of certain currents of neurobiology, which do not distinguish between mind and brain, or whether soul and body are preferred. The human mind is simply irreplaceable because the mind is a set of activities and psychic processes that obey a subjective experience, which requires an ability to examine and abstract reasoning proper to the spirit. This, however much we advance in the knowledge of the functioning of the brain, it is impossible to reduce it to electrical impulses and ionic currents and to deny the existence of a distinct and immaterial reality. No matter how intelligent the algorithms and the material elements that are used in the construction of a machine, it will always lack the spontaneity and the ability to subjectively experience all the elements involved in abstract thinking. Much will be possible to advance artificial intelligence and robotics, but in the end they will be no more than machines with an automatic response capability to the situations for which they were previously designed.
Far from Hawking's scientism, science has its limits. Not recognizing them and not conforming to them means falling into a reductionism impoverishing the physical-spiritual reality of the human being. Neither the immaterial is subject to an experimental analysis nor can cause-effect relationships be established between matter and spirit, nor can spiritual matters be attributed to matter.
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