My answer was two words. “The soul,” I said.
I have recently done a great deal of reading and listening to podcasts that discuss technology and increasingly rapid pace of development. It is stunning.
Machines That Learn
Google’s core competency isn’t Search, but data science. Machine Learning technology allows Google to analyze billions of people’s video, texts, e-mails, and search data. Everything is becoming data. What you eat, where you go, what say, who you are with, and on and on. Internet of Things will turn all our items and objects into a potential web data collectors and data sharers.
Elementary, my dear Watson
The sheer computing power available to machines today is mind boggling. IBM’s Watson computer can not only beat people at Jeopardy, but it can also take massive amounts of unstructured data and find meaning in it. How? It “learns.” Watson can be “trained”. Machine Learning is transforming computing.
Imagine an advanced version of Watson into which is placed every biblical commentary, encyclopedia, dictionary lexicon, sermon, and Christian text or audio files. There is almost no fact or piece of knowledge the machine would not have. Ask, and it will “know.” Amazon’s Echo or Apple’s Siri are great early stage examples. You talk to these machines, and they talk back. And they are only going to get “smarter” and increase in “knowledge.”
What changes in our spiritual life when machines analyze our words, the media we consume, the texts we send, and the emails we write? What characterizes our spiritual life when our facial expressions, body postures, pulse, heart rate, calendars, locations, interactions with others, are analyzed by our machines?
A computer might say, “Based on analysis of your day, can I recommend some verses or devotions for you? Would you like me to play a worship song or give you sermon? I have prepared a Virtual Reality session to help you relax by the Sea of Galilee. Or would you prefer the Mount of Olives?”
A Deistic View
Futurist James Canton writes,
“As computer chips get cheaper, smarter, smaller, and linked up, a new phenomenon is occurring that never happened before: everything is getting not just connected, but also Connected and Discoverable. Microchips and sensors are connecting everyday objects, cars, sensors, clothing, and food packages, forming a new wireless web of smart things that someday soon will be able to discover one another, leading to an entirely new reality we call today IoT, the Internet of Things.”
We can see it coming. But consider Canton’s next statement.
“But this does not do the phenomena justice–this is a much grander planetary transformation. Every chip will be geo-intelligent—Always Aware of Who ‘it’ is, Where ‘it’ is, and Why ‘it’ is—the purpose and meaning of existence.”
Will we spend more time talking to our machines than to our God?
Let’s Get Physical
The web filled with videos of robots who can run, gallop, jump, fall and get back up, lift things, carry things, etc. And they will only get better; more agile, faster, and stronger. Physicality and movement are no longer points of separation between the machines and us.
Will we disciples our robots?
Will we let them come into church services just as we allow service dogs?
Will they serve in ministry doing the heavy lifting or the repetitive tasks?
In essence, we are talking about surrounding ourselves with and interacting with objects that have knowledge, physicality, and awareness of purpose. When these objects, with AI (Artificial Intelligence), are blended with DEP’s (Digitally Engineered Personalities) we will have entered into a new land. Perhaps, we are already there.
Canton writes, “It will be hard to say No and harder to just turn off the Smart Technology that we have become merged with, embedded into, fused onto, and dependent upon. In fact, this how this evolution and fusion of the humans and machine culture will start.”
The difference will be our Soul. We must learn to attend to our Soul.
Photo Credit:Peyri Herrera