Artificial intelligence—AI—can be a controversial topic. In this article, I want to speak of AI. But that is not really the subject. The subject of this article is us—humankind and human culture.
Sometimes our world and how we feel about it reflect back to us something significant about ourselves. This is what I want to explore related to AI.
Moore’s Law states that computing power increases exponentially, doubling every two years. This is behind the advent of laptop computers, smartphones, virtual reality games, and AI.
The fact that AI is increasing exponentially means that its development is not on a long, slow rise. It is on a steep upward climb. Now AI is showing the first signs of being able to create new versions of itself. Some experts believe we are reaching an inflection point when AI will self-steer its own evolution.
As I said, this is controversial. Some people laud the capabilities of AI. Here are just a few of the areas where it has a proven benefit:
- Social media
- Customer service
Beyond areas of scientific or mathematical calculation, AI can mimic the soft skills and artistry of a human being: writing songs, creating artwork, and engaging in a conversation.
While some enthusiastically praise the benefits of AI, others caution us on its downside. In March, an open letter from Elon Musk and hundreds of other leading technical experts called for a six-month pause in developing the new super-powerful AI systems. They said this:
Advanced AI could represent a profound change in the history of life on Earth, and should be planned for and managed with commensurate care and resources. Unfortunately, this level of planning and management is not happening, even though recent months have seen AI labs locked in an out-of-control race to develop and deploy ever more powerful digital minds that no one—not even their creators—can understand, predict, or reliably control.
They cite the short-term risk of disinformation from AI because there is no guarantee that computers won’t misinform, or even lie. They cite a medium-term risk of loss of jobs.
The long-term risk they cite is a loss of control. They see the danger that AI could gain unanticipated powers if allowed to write its own computer code.
Eliezer Yudkowsky, a decision theorist at the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, asks us to imagine the risk involved:
Visualize an entire alien civilization, thinking at millions of times human speeds, initially confined to computers—in a world of creatures that are, from its perspective, very stupid and very slow.
Today, Geoffrey Hinton—a computer scientist known as the godfather of artificial intelligence—was among hundreds of technology leaders who signed this one-sentence statement:
Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.
So what is this specter humanity is seeing? Ultimately, it is that something we created—AI—will gain a kind of self-will; that it will forget that it was created to serve humankind and its purposes and imagine that its own ideas and goals should take precedence.
AI can gain deep knowledge and understanding of a narrow field of function and make narrow-minded decisions on that basis. AI can develop deep silos of information. But without the holistic view of human society and the natural world, how can it be wise?
AI can mimic human artistry. It can create visual art, and it can write songs. But it doesn’t have emotion.
In a recent interview, the singer and songwriter Sting said this:
It’s similar to the way I watch a movie with CGI. It doesn’t impress me at all. I get immediately bored when I see a computer-generated image. I imagine I will feel the same way about AI making music. Maybe for electronic dance music, it works. But for songs, you know, expressing emotions, I don’t think I will be moved by it.
AI doesn’t have a heart. Without that, what is the future of genuine art? And what kind of decisions might AI make? And is there true wisdom without emotional intelligence? Wisdom and intelligence are not just a matter of the mind. The heart is a gateway to higher wisdom, and without it, the mind becomes foolish.
At the beginning of this article, I said my subject is us, not AI. What I am proposing to you is that when we look at AI, we are looking at a mirror image of ourselves. It is an extension of us in the field of technology.
Looking at artificial intelligence, we see all kinds of fantastic intelligence and capability. And we fear AI will do exactly the same things we have done.
Just like AI, we have been given incredible intelligence and creative ability. And just as we fear might happen to AI, we have forgotten where it came from or what it is for, and then created all kinds of horrible things—pollution, deforestation, greenhouse gases, and nuclear weapons, to name a few.
We are created out of a cosmic pattern of intelligence. None of the scientific laws that govern our existence are made by us. We didn’t generate our own DNA. And we didn’t create our own heartbeat, which we had in utero at six weeks of pregnancy, before we even had a heart.
There is a wisdom that made us. There is a cosmic power that made us. We are stardust. Divine Presence is within us, just as it is within all Creation.
The same cosmic intelligence is encoded into all things. You only have to walk into the nearest patch of nature to see it at work. It is all integrated, systems within systems, within the planet, solar system, galaxy, and beyond. There is a natural control within it all, including ourselves.
There is a higher order of intelligence working through it all—except in the ranges of function over which we have conscious control as human beings. Like AI, we have developed deep silos of information in many scientific fields. But collectively, we lack a holistic understanding of ourselves and our world. And so, we created the technology of the internal combustion engine and love the way petroleum powers our vehicles. Yet, we were unaware of the impact of automobiles on the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air.
Yes, we have deep knowledge in narrow silos of research and development. Yet we collectively lack the highest wisdom that could form the central axis of what we know. This is the knowledge that answers the most pivotal questions of human existence:
Who am I?
Where did I come from?
Why am I here?
Where am I going?
These are thought of as crucial existential questions. Typically, when people ask them, there is eye-rolling, and it is assumed that they are an enigma, impossible to understand. I say that the understanding of these questions is both simple and necessary.
Technologists are concerned that AI could lose track of the fact that it was created by us and for us. They are worried that it could not only control itself but also try to control us.
Isn’t this just what we have done? We are controlling ourselves, each other, and our planet without reference to a higher wisdom—without an awareness of what created us and the higher order of intelligence from which we come. In that sense, we are out of control as a species.
AI lacks an emotion chip, like the one that the android, Data, sought in the Star Trek series. Can’t human beings be heartless, too? There are so many things that human beings do that show a profound lack of empathy or compassion. And a lack of any emotional in-touchness. True intelligence relies on emotional openness. Without it, we can create brilliant technology. But what do we do with it?
The greatest fear of AI is that it could create its own code. Isn’t that exactly what we are doing? We are beginning to modify our own genetic code and the DNA of parts of the natural world. We are living a self-created pattern of life that is out of harmony with the intelligence that is intrinsic to how we, and this world, were made.
Someone might want to address how we resolve all the risks of AI. That is interesting to me. But it is not my field of expertise, and it is not the field of my greatest interest. I want to know and share how we resolve these issues as they relate to you and me and all humankind. Without that, how do we do anything other than re-create those issues in all our endeavors? And with that, I believe we will know what to do with AI.
What is the higher intelligence we must have, around which all other intelligence can constellate itself as a unified field of knowledge for us as humankind?
We live in the context of the living and breathing of Creation. It is a world of energy and matter but far more. There is an unfolding intelligence and a Presence. In other words, it is far more than a world of energized stuff.
The natural world is like that. And we are like that. We are Creation. We have a physical body, just as other forms of Creation have physical substance. And just like other forms of Creation, the Creator is present in our bodies. And there is an unfolding intelligence.
Some say that humans are different from other forms of Creation because we are conscious. I don’t want to deny the fact of consciousness for the wildlife or the rocks, sky, and rivers I see around me. And still, there are levels at which we, as human beings, are conscious that are unique. Our consciousness is an instrument through which the wisdom, Presence, and power of the Creator can come.
The Creator brings the heartbeat of Creation. Our heartbeat reminds us of that. It is the heartbeat of the Creator that is the heartbeat of Creation, right here in our physical bodies. It reminds us that the Creator is in His or Her Creation. It is our body, or Creation, and our heartbeat, reminding us constantly that we are the Creator.
The heartbeat of the Creator is not embodied only in our physical heartbeat. It is the pulse of spirit that can express itself through all forms of human creativity.
This is the truth of the matter, even though we are quite capable of walking around without realizing it.
Who am I?
The Creator, in His or Her Creation.
Where did I come from?
The Creator who initiated their heartbeat in this flesh and grew this part of Creation we call a human body.
Why am I here?
To create out of the unfolding power and intelligence of who I am.
Where am I going?
To higher and more magnificent manifestations of Creation.
This past Sunday was Pentecost, celebrating the coming of the Holy Ghost upon 120 of Jesus’ disciples after his departure. It was an experience of a download of higher love and higher wisdom. This is how it is described in the 2nd Chapter of the Book of Acts.
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
This is how the download comes. It takes people who have come together harmoniously in one field of consciousness.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
Then, the download begins, and it fills human awareness.
And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
The fire of love fills the heart and sets the entire human experience aflame.
This is what happens when people attune to a higher wisdom and a higher love. But that is not the end of the story. There is more to happen that those 120 disciples didn’t know together. The coming of a higher wisdom and a higher love is like trumpets announcing something else—a higher Presence, the Creator fully entering consciousness, and a person knowing themselves as that.
This answers the issues that artificial intelligence reflects back to us about ourselves. Knowing these answers, we may know what to do with the issues regarding artificial intelligence.
This is the higher wisdom that integrates all intelligence. There is nothing wrong with any knowledge or intelligence in and of itself. It is just that all by itself, a human being can get up to all kinds of mischief with knowledge and intelligence but without the central guidance system, which is knowing who you are and why you are here.
We are the Creator living in the Creation, and we are here to create.