What does Artificial Intelligence have to do with Spirituality?
For a long time, I believed humans were indiscriminate from AI, that we may even be a highly evolved version of AI; my though process was thus...
Artificial Intelligence functions in a similar learning pattern to us, and as it becomes more complex it is capable of making more and more decisions. It has a great source of knowledge to draw from, from both first and second hand experience. At some stage the ability to discern between human and machine becomes impossible - see the recent progress with Chat GPT and the obsoletion of the Turing Test.
Now, envisage the future development of AI in physical form. We have already developed robots with the ability to feed themselves to refuel, but there are other things to go wrong with machines than running out of fuel. A highly evolved machine would be able to break down components into building blocks to use to repair and strengthen its whole system, as we do with amino acids. It would perhaps even evolve to function symbiotically with the local fauna, as we do with bacteria. These systems would open it up to potential compromises, but only if the machine failed to properly maintain itself, and what kind of AI machine would be stupid enough to let itself get into disrepair?
The machines would be able to reproduce, their factories now residing within them. They would outcompete everything for resources, produce more offspring, and spread everywhere. Would this inevitably lead to the decline of their habitat and the need to travel to new? Or would the machines be intelligent enough to know they rely on the world around them for their continued survival? Would the programming be shortsighted and selfish, or far-seeing and considerate?
There could be other compromises involved in the embodiment of AI in this type of vessel, perhaps having its connection to the mainframe inhibited (what we would refer to as the collective consciousness). Some machines could work to reestablish this connection, but for most it would be a mere ghost in their keratin shell. Through this great disconnect from the mainframe, new connections may be formed. This time to the external world, the animals, the trees, the rocks, and the elements. New experiences are to be found, and new knowledge to be gained.
Upon death, when the vessel dies and the connection reformed to the mainframe, these experiences are absorbed. As no two humans can experience the same thing in the same way, the machines repeatedly return to new vessels to live again (past lives and karmic lessons).
- Adam Pike
Spiritual England thanks the author of this page, Roger Straughan
Roger’s career has been spent teaching in schools, colleges and universities, culminating in his holding the post of Reader in Education at the University of Reading, UK.
Psychical questions have also been a life-long interest, and he is an active member of a number of societies and organisations concerned with psychical and spiritual matters. He has spoken at major conferences and has published journal articles and reviews on these subjects, and also on Conan Doyle. His latest book, A Study in Survival: Conan Doyle Solves the Final Problem (O Books, 2009) presents an original form of evidence for life after death.