Artificial Intelligence is already changing the world as we know it, but how will it change the future? Is it possible that humans will one day be able to create a thinking machine that has a will of its own? And if so, will this machine become a kind of super-intellect that ends up controlling all of our actions? What does it mean to be a conscious living being in the first place? Shane Rosenthal discusses these and other questions with Oxford mathematician John Lennox, author of 2084: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity.
John Lennox: An artificial intelligence system of the type we’ve already developed doesn’t think. Humans are conscious beings and if you’re going to create a super-intelligent being that can do anything humans can do in all areas, then you have to discover a way to make a conscious being. That’s a barrier for the very simple reason that no one has the faintest idea of what consciousness is, let alone being able to construct it.
Term to Learn
“Irreducible Complexity and Intelligent Design vs. Darwinian Gradualism”
Describes a system with many coordinated parts, all of which are necessary for the function of the system as a whole. These systems are complex, in that they involve a number of coordinated parts. And they are irreducible, in the sense that they cannot be reduced to a simpler system, by eliminating one or more of the parts, and still perform their intended function at all. Darwinian gradualism postulates that the present order of living things originated over millions of years from a single original proto-cell and that the changes from one generation to another were gradual. Existing differentiations came about through the selective death of all but the “fittest” in any one generation.
Darwinian gradualism might conceivably produce a complex machine gradually and over a period of time, selecting “the fittest” gradually weeds out everything but a system with all its parts in place. But a system with irreducible complexity does not allow a gradual build up, because the system does not function at all until all the parts are both present and in place, ready to perform cooperatively.
An intelligent designer, by contrast, can construct an irreducible complex system, because he can assemble the parts one by one by intelligent selection, know the end-product to which he is heading.
(Adapted from Vern S. Poythress’ Redeeming Science, pp. 259-260. Emphasis original)