What if AI developed a soul

Source: BBC News

By Brandon Ambrosino

Siri, do you believe in God?

“Humans have religion. I just have silicon.”

Siri, do you believe in God?

“I eschew theological disquisition.”

Siri, I insist, do you believe in God?

“I would ask that you address your spiritual questions to someone more qualified to comment. Ideally, a human.”

She – is it a she? – has a point: artificial intelligences (AI) like Siri are less situated than humans to answer questions about religion and spirituality. Existential angst, ethical inquiries, theological considerations: these belong exclusively to the domain of Homo Sapiens.

Or so we assume.

But some futurists and tech experts predict a not-so-distant future in which AI, having achieved a certain indistinguishability from humans, will be truly intelligent. At that point, they claim, AI will experience the world in ways not too unlike the ways that we experience it – emotionally, intelligently, and spiritually.

When that day comes, I’ll have a new question for her. “Siri, do you have a soul?”

A consideration of AI’s religious status can be found in some of the earliest discussions of modern computing. In his 1950 paper ‘Computing Machinery and Intelligence’, Alan Turing considered various objections to what he called “thinking machines.” The first objection was theological:

Thinking is a function of man’s immortal soul. God has given an immortal soul to every man and woman, but not to any other animal or to machines. Hence no animal or machine can think.

Turing confessed he was “unable to accept any part of this” objection, but because the religious imagination did and still does loom large in the minds of the popular public interacting with his ideas, he thought it necessary to answer the objection. The argument, he says, “implies a serious restriction of the omnipotence of the Almighty … should we not believe that He has freedom to confer a soul on an elephant if He sees fit?”

But plenty of religious people think elephants, as well as every other non-human creature, lack souls, and therefore could never be religious. These people seem to take their own souls for granted. Perhaps they shouldn’t.

Read more

Suggested Reading

Stephen Hawking Passes Away – May God Bless His Soul, But He Didn’t Believe in One

3 replies

  1. Soul making is a business that is solely in the hands of God, and so man can try all they want but Siri or cortana but even Jarvis will agree that God’s creation of Soul can’t be matched by the likes of any one any where. Cuz after all God has created man and the heavens and the universe.

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