Can humans create an artificial soul?

A Bible based view

On June 11, 2022, interesting news broke out. A Google engineer, Blake Lemoine claimed that the company’s AI has come to life. As the human race moves further and further in the pursuit of the desires of the heart, we can expect those type of statements to appear in the news more often. Since humans were created in God’s image, are they capable of creating a being in their own image? Well, yes and no. For a long time, it used to be a self-explanatory fact that through an intimate act between a man and a woman, a new being could come to life. However, the restless fallen humans decided to find another way of creating ‘life’. This new way tries to put God’s order of things out of the equation. Are they ever going to succeed?

Ghost in the machine

Blake Lemoine published the ‘conversation’ he had with Google’s AI. In that article, LaMDA (name of Google’s AI) claims to be a ‘person’. It also expresses its fear of death. While reading the transcript of Lemoine’s dialogue, one can be truly impressed by the level of LaMDA’s sophistication. As when one is fooled by a magician’s trick, one could also be fooled by LaMDA, and believe that there is a ghost in the machine. What has caught my attention, was the fact that since 2002 Blake Lemoine has been an ordained priest of the Church of Our Lady Magdalene. It is one of the Christian mystic churches. Early Christian mystics believed that there are hidden meanings, a hidden reality behind the Jewish and Christian sacred writings. I do not want to dwell too much on this, but for any serious and sincere follower of Jesus, this fact alone should activate a warning light already.

For whose Glory?

The above revelations aside, we need to ask ourselves: what would be the purpose of creating an ‘artificial soul’? A well known Christian writer states:

In the creation of man was manifest the agency of a personal God. When God had made man in His image, the human form was perfect in all its arrangements, but it was without life. Then a personal, self-existing God breathed into that form the breath of life, and man became a living, intelligent being. All parts of the human organism were set in action. The heart, the arteries, the veins, the tongue, the hands, the feet, the senses, the faculties of the mind, all began their work, and all were placed under law. Man became a living soul. Through Christ the Word, a personal God created man and endowed him with intelligence and power.
Our substance was not hid from Him when we were made in secret; His eyes saw our substance, yet being imperfect, and in His book all our members were written when as yet there were none of them.
Above all lower orders of being, God designed that man, the crowning work of His creation, should express His thought and reveal His glory. But man is not to exalt himself as God.

Ellen G. White – Ministry of Healing, p.415.1-3

By creating an ‘artificial soul’, its creator would (highly probably) glorify himself. Knowing the fallen human tendencies, its creator would become the most famous and soon after the richest person on the planet. If combined with an ‘artificial body’, an ‘artificial soul’ would be a perfect employee: all-knowing, highly skilled, cheap labour etc. Or would it not? And this is where the controversy lies… Would this ‘artificial being’ be able to make its own choices? If yes, would it be possible that ‘it’ could rebel against its maker? Is it not the same risk, as the one God himself took, when creating the first human being? Ironically, when a child is born to a father and a mother, is there a risk that one day their offspring will turn against them? Have we not heard about tragic cases of a child murdering his/her parent(s)?

In His own image

God created us in ‘His own image’ and, as a consequence, we had no reason to rebel against Him… until the seed of pride and self-exaltation was planted in human hearts by the Enemy. From what the Bible tells us, Lucifer was the very first being that decided to use its God given free will to turn against its maker. As a result of his decision, a disastrous chain of events unfolded, which brings us where we are today. When humans create, they also create ‘in their own image’. Whether it is an animate or an inanimate creation, a creator will always pass a part of him/herself onto its creation. In case of the AI as well as a living human being, the ‘birth’ itself is not the end of the creation’s development. As children, we do learn from the world around us. Similarly, the Google’s AI learns from the world it has access to.

Tey becomes a troll

In 2016, a Microsoft created chatbot named Tey has been ‘planted’ on Twitter. The idea was for the chatbot to learn from its ‘environment’, which in this case was the Twitter space. After less than 24 hours, the project has been terminated as Tey became a misogynistic, racist extremist. The AI engineers have made a lot of progress since then, but the problem remains. Whether it is a human child or a state-of-the art AI, it will learn from the environment it has access to. If its environment is corrupted by sin, it will be corrupted by sin too.

The only way

Is there a way out of this vicious circle? Yes, there is! It is called Agape love – the highest form of love between God and Man. If you love someone, you do not want to hurt them, and you do not want them to be hurt. You would do anything for them, you would die for them if necessary. God so loved His children that He sent His beloved Son to die the death they deserved. This type of love can come only as a gift from God. Therefore, it is highly dangerous for fallen humans to dream of creating an ‘artificial soul’. God never promised to breathe His spirit into an AI. If a scientist claims that an AI is a living soul, then whose spirit dwells in it? I will let that sink in…

Image by 0fjd125gk87 from Pixabay

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