It has begun. It's not fiction anymore: Computers are being developed to achieve human levels of intelligence to expand human minds — a looming development that theologians and Christian bioethicists consider would be a "slap in the face" of God and would turn people into "subhuman slaves."
The scientific term is called "singularity," that moment in mankind's history when all the advances in technology, particularly in artificial intelligence (AI), will lead to machines that are smarter than human beings, according to Ray Kurzweil, Google's Director of Engineering and a well-known futurist, as reported by Futurism.com.
Kurzweil has set the date 2045 for the "singularity" to be completed.
"That leads to computers having human intelligence, our putting them inside our brains, connecting them to the cloud, expanding who we are. Today, that's not just a future scenario," Kurzweil told the SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas, last week. "It's here, in part, and it's going to accelerate."
Most of Kurzweil's predictions have reportedly come true: Out of 147 predictions since the 1990s, he claims an 86 percent accuracy rate.
In an earlier interview with SXSW, Kurzweil first mentioned the year 2029 when computers will have human-level intelligence after passing "a valid Turing test." That test was developed by English scientist Alan Turing in 1950 to check a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human.
Kurzwell later contacted Futurism.com to clarify that 2045 is actually the year when "we will multiply our effective intelligence a billion fold by merging with the intelligence we have created."
The merger of human and artificial intelligence, Kurzwell said, will make people "funnier," "sexier," and will "exemplify all the things that we value in humans to a greater degree."
However, bioethicists and theologians interviewed by The Christian Post warned that such technological achievement should never happen.
"A technological elite comprised of demi-gods who decide how the rest of us think and act by programming us may well result in abuse and deformations as severe as those depicted in 'The Island of Dr. Moreau' or 'Frankenstein,'" said Fay Voshell, an award-winning theologian.
She said the "dumb chips" that tech geniuses would insert in the neo cortexes of people would make them "subhuman slaves."
Dennis Sullivan, a medical doctor and director of the Center for Bioethics at Cedarville University, a Baptist school in Ohio, agrees with Voshell, saying that Kurzwell's envisioned "singularity" would be a "slap in the face of our Saviour."
"Theologically, I always thought that was a slap in the face to God who said that 'This is very good' in Genesis 1 after creating man. And they're saying 'Not so good, and in fact we can do better.' I find that very, very arrogant," Sullivan said.