Why Robots Will Never Be Human

Some experts believe it may be possible to build a conscious machine that thinks in the same way humans do. The Word of God tells us otherwise.

On Oct. 25, 2017, Sophia, one of the most lifelike robots ever created, was granted Saudi Arabian citizenship. This incredibly humanlike machine has the ability to “emote” through facial expressions and engage in conversation.

David Hanson, founder of Hanson Robotics and the man primarily responsible for creating Sophia, has said that he aspires “to create genius machines that will surpass human intelligence” and that his goal is to create robots with “creativity, empathy, compassion.”

Dr. Hanson says he doesn’t want to create robots that merely appear to feel emotions through their facial expressions. His desire is to create machines that actually feel all of the emotions humans feel. The Hanson Robotics website even says Sophia is “awakening” over time.

However, as cutting-edge as Sophia the robot is, it is still far from conscious. As convincing as it may be, it does not feel emotions. It does not possess artificial general intelligence (AGI).

The exact definition of AGI is debated, but it essentially means having the learning capabilities of a human brain. This would involve learning how to do something and applying that basic concept to different situations it hasn’t yet been taught and applying knowledge to the real world. Some experts are of the opinion that it would need to involve actual consciousness to be considered AGI. Most experts agree that developing robots with AGI is going to be difficult and take a very long time to achieve.

On the other hand, some cognitive scientists believe that “consciousness arises from nothing more than specific computations,” which would mean that the computational requirements for consciousness could be programmed into computers (“Can Machines Be Conscious? Scientists Say Robots Can Be Self-Aware, Just Like Humans,” Newsweek).

So is it actually possible for humans to create a machine that is self-aware and has consciousness? Is it possible for a robot to have emotions? Is human consciousness really as simple as a physical process that, if understood, could be replicated? The answers to all of these questions can be found in the Bible.

Man was created in the image of God

God simply hasn’t given us His power to create new forms of life with independent, conscious thought and emotions.If human beings were a product of evolution with no intelligent design involved, then the neural process that is consciousness could possibly be re-created in a robot. However, this is not the case. Genesis 1:27 tells us, “God created man in His own image.”

Mankind did not evolve from simpler life-forms over billions of years. We were designed by God in His image and likeness. Therefore, the human mind is not something a human being could ever replicate. It was designed by an omniscient Creator, and we simply do not have His blueprint!

The spirit in man

What makes a person a person? Job 32:8 says, “But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding.” God has a placed a spirit in us that makes us human. It’s what allows us to think abstractly, create art and music, and appreciate beauty. If God were to take this spirit out of us, we would be like animals.

Even if people were able to re-create the functions of a human brain in a robot, it would not be alive and conscious because it would not have the spirit in man. It would not have the spiritual potential to be a child in the family of God.

Emotions come from God

In 1 John 4:8 John writes, “God is love,” and in verse 19 of the same chapter, “We love Him because He first loved us.”

God is love. Human beings would not love if He hadn’t loved us first and placed the emotional capability to love in us. God has emotions, and because we are created in His image, we have them as well.

It is impossible for human beings to place something as abstract and intangible as emotion in something they have built, no matter how complex the mechanics of it are. God simply hasn’t given us His power to create new forms of life with independent, conscious thought and emotions.

Without a doubt, artificial intelligence has become incredibly advanced. People have the capability to build robots, like Sophia, who appear uncannily humanlike, that can carry on conversations and even appear to experience emotion.

But, no matter how seemingly human machines may become, they will never be human. They will never be able to think and understand, because they are merely creations of man. God, in His infinite wisdom, designed the human mind, placed the spirit in man in each of us, and is going to give each of us the opportunity to live as spirit beings in His eternal family.

About the Author

Rhianna Cartwright

Rhianna Cartwright is a 2018 graduate of Foundation Institute.