There is a growing conviction in Western culture that computers eventually will become conscious. In the past three years alone, people from opposite ends of the societal spectrum have expressed both dread and hope about this occurring. Scientists Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates all voiced concern that artificial intelligence (A.I.) poses a threat to the safety of humanity. One Presbyterian pastor in Florida said he is planning to share the gospel with the robots once they awaken. In the artistic world, writers explored the interesting question of whether we will fall in love with our new machine superiors—as depicted in movies such as Ex Machina, Transcendence, and HER.
Wherever the topic of A.I. arises, so do spiritual questions. For instance, is it even possible for a computer to become conscious? If one did, would it have a soul? If not, what does that mean about our souls? Would it somehow disprove we have them? Would that disprove the Bible? And so on. Many Christians likely wonder what to believe about all of this.
Thi sPostmodern Realities episode is a conversation with Journal author James Hoskins about his 39:2 article, “Digital Souls: What Should Christians Believe about Artificial Intelligence?“.
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