Will AI Destroy Humanity?
A recent poll reveals that many Americans believe AI will destroy humanity. Could that happen? Does the Bible say that human life will end in self-destruction?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic in the world today. Some view it with great hope, while others regard it with great concern and trepidation. Many are beginning to believe that it could actually lead to the destruction of all human life.
A recent YouGov poll of 20,810 U.S. adults asked three questions:
- “Would you support or oppose a six-month pause on some kinds of AI development?”
- “How concerned, if at all, are you about the possibility that AI will cause the end of the human race on Earth?”
In answering the third question, some 19 percent of U.S. adults stated they were very concerned, while another 27 percent said they were somewhat concerned.
That indicates nearly half of American adults are concerned that AI technology could destroy humanity.
Does the Bible reveal that AI will destroy humanity and lead to the end of the world?
What is artificial intelligence?
What exactly is AI? The Oxford English Dictionary defines artificial intelligence as: “The theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.”
Most reading this post are already using AI technology, perhaps unknowingly. Computerized navigational maps, online advertisements with product recommendations, facial recognition on cell phones, virtual assistants, online banking, and surveillance and security systems are all using elements of AI technology.
Many see these things as time-saving tools or as a helpful level of security and protection. In that sense, AI is being used for good.
But many can see how this technology can also be used for evil. That potential for evil generates the fear of AI!
Why the concern over artificial intelligence?
This YouGov poll shows that those who are more familiar with how AI works are more troubled by its potential harm than those who don’t understand it.
Not surprisingly, adults under 30 are twice as likely as those 65 and older to be worried about AI causing human extinction (60 percent versus 30 percent).
So why are young people and those familiar with AI so concerned?
Perhaps it’s because they can better understand the frightening implications of how this technology can mimic human intelligence.
Artificial intelligence vs. human intelligence
Because of AI’s growing abilities to mimic human thinking, many feel that AI could turn against us. Even though this seems like the theme of science fiction, it concerns many people.
However, students of the Bible understand that human intelligence—the ability to think and reason with self-awareness—is only possible by “the spirit in man,” which comes from God (Job 32:8; 1 Corinthians 2:11).
Even though AI can learn from inputs fed into it and act accordingly, AI cannot develop a conscience and morality and then act on it. This requires a spiritual element that only comes from God. (To learn more about that element, read “What Is the Spirit in Man?” and “What Does the Bible Say About the Mind?”)
But what AI can do is build information upon information. AI can quickly and systematically solve complicated equations and then use that information to solve other equations and act accordingly. Solving problems is one of the ways AI “learns.”
However, the real threat lies in how AI learns from the human intelligence that programmed it.
And that is why the danger is so real. AI could unintentionally or intentionally cause catastrophic damage when programmed by bad actors with evil intentions. Imagine an AI authorizing the use of a nuclear weapon by mimicking someone else’s credentials!
This is why many fear a doomsday scenario with AI. In the wrong hands, AI could potentially cause the death of millions.
History has proven time and time again that technology meant for good ultimately gets used for evil. This seems to happen with every technology man has created, with few exceptions.
Why should we believe AI would be any different?
What does the Bible say about human extinction?
According to the YouGov poll, AI isn’t the only doomsday fear among Americans. Those asked about the likely causes of human extinction also worry about nuclear weapons (70 percent), world war (67 percent), climate change (53 percent), pandemics (56 percent) and even acts of God (62 percent).
Incredibly, the Bible shows that such threats will lead humanity to the brink of self-annihilation (Matthew 24:21-22).
But, ironically, it also reveals that an act of God will avert it! God will intervene and save humanity from its own destruction.
Instead of inflicting harm on humanity, God will intervene and save us from destroying ourselves!
For more insight, read “What Is an ‘Act of God’?”
The time is coming when fear of death will be no more
The Bible foretold the times we are living in. God told His servant about the time just before the return of Jesus Christ when “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase” (Daniel 12:4). (To learn more of the indicators of the end times, read “Discerning the Signs of the Times.”)
We live in a world of ever-increasing knowledge, including AI, and a time of rapid transportation. This prophecy describes our modern world.
The increased knowledge has brought about much good. It has made life easier in many ways, helped extend physical life in some cases, and is being used to preach the true gospel to the world. But, unfortunately, it has also been used for evil and caused increased fear—a legitimate fear that it could be used to destroy life as we know it.
Just when humanity is on the brink of extinction, Jesus Christ will intervene and establish the Kingdom of God on this earth. He will then be King over the entire earth and replace fear with peace (Micah 4:1-4).
At that time, knowledge—the knowledge of God—will spread throughout the entire earth. Not artificial knowledge—but true knowledge of God, His way of life and His incredible plan for humanity (Isaiah 11:9; Revelation 21:3-4).
No, we don’t need to fear an AI doomsday because the sure word of prophecy ensures it will not happen. Though there are reasons to be concerned about future uses of AI technology, we don’t need to be terrorized by fear of it.
Even though humanity has the potential to destroy itself, the Bible reveals that human beings have the potential to become like God and share eternity with Him. That is His purpose. He will not let AI, or any other technology, derail that purpose!
Topics Covered: Social Issues, Science and Technology, God’s Plan