Artificial Intelligence and the Believer -- By: James King

Journal: Journal of Ministry and Theology
Volume: JMAT 09:1 (Spring 2005)
Article: Artificial Intelligence and the Believer
Author: James King

Artificial Intelligence and the Believer

James King

Professor of Missions
Baptist Bible Seminary, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania

We are standing on the edge of a great unknown and uncharted sea. The world of technology has changed our world in ways that we can only begin to comprehend. It is now possible to have almost instantaneous electronic contact with people from around the world. Countries which have not had the infrastructure to support a viable telephone system are now bypassing this old technology and hardware and are going directly to communication towers and satellite communication systems. Virtual reality1 has now become a common term and has begun to offer people an alternate form of what is considered real.

The media has become an integral part of the process by introducing movies dealing with artificial intelligence (AI). The most popular of the recent movies, The Matrix, depicts a time when the machines are winning the cosmic struggle and all of humanity is in danger of being eliminated. But, thankfully, in the end, Neo, the One, the messiah-like character comes to the rescue and mankind is saved to fight another day.

While the popularized forms of artificial intelligence have been enjoyed by the masses, there is a very real form which is being developed that may surpass what any of us can currently imagine. In 1979, the American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) was founded with the purpose of advancing the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines. This organization along with many others are pursuing the next generation of “computers” which will truly be able to mimic man’s intelligence, with the ultimate goal of surpassing it by eliminating those parts of thinking which are not controlled by logic, a rational

thought process. While this may still be something in the future, if the observation made in 1965 by Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits has doubled every year since the integrated circuit was invented and his prediction that that this trend would continue for the foreseeable future is correct, the “power” of technology will surpass anything even he could have imagined.

And that is a discussion dealing with the power of a single computer. There are organizations today that have created computational grids2 that connect hundreds of thousands of individual personal computers as in the case of Distributed.Net

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