13. AI (Artificial Intelligence and Scientific Pantheism)

A scientific pantheist by definition loves the natural world. So a pantheist should be profoundly cautious (at a minimum) regarding the creation of general AI. If you haven’t put much thought into AI, here is a grim but excellent primer on the dangers (link). But beyond the risks, general AI, if developed, would surely represent the greatest technological creation in human history. It would be the ultimate technology, what Ray Kurzwell calls the coming singularity. However, pantheism is predicated on the belief that this reality, in which we humans evolved into being and that we physically inhabit, is wonderful to the degree that it is sacred. So why should we hate natural reality and our natural lives so much that we would wish to alter it, and/or our lives in it, unpredictably and out of all recognition? Some improvements are fine, sure, but why a “singularity” that changes our lives unpredictably out of all recognition? Why? What is compelling us to desire something like that, or to even passively allow it to happen?

It has been argued that AI is inevitable due to the nature of the free market. But we humans create the damned free market. Why are we currently so passive that something as utterly existentially important as AI doesn’t stir us to action, stir us to take charge of what we are doing? Why don’t we deliberate and choose to act decisively, to honor and revere the profound, awesome, and mysterious gift of this existence? Haven’t enough people watched 2001 A Space Odyssey, to know that to be worthy of another advance in the human situation, we must first show that we are in charge of our own damned tools, and not vice-versa? Could it be that the dominant secular ethos of utilitarianism has us so pathologically focused on our ego’s “well-being” that we have become indifferent to the well-being that arises in simply being in reality? Doesn’t this pathology need to be healed, first? Else-wise aren’t we inevitably doomed by our hatred for the way things currently are, to follow a hate driven road to a likely monstrosity, which is the most natural outcome of something born of hate? After all, would love create a desire to turn this reality, from which we are born, upside down or inside out?

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