Monday: AI scans were used at Royal Marsden Hospital and Imperial College- algorithms used to diagnose cancer had proved super-effective, more efficient than any current methods.
Tuesday: Geoffrey Hinton, the “godfather” of AI quits Google and warns of its danger- are they more intelligent than us? Not now, probably, but perhaps soon.“Right now, they’re not… as far as I can tell. But I think they soon may be.” His research on neural networks has paved the way for the current AI systems like Chat GPT, which possess Deep Learning, the ability to learn from experience as humans do. Chatbox could soon overtake the level of information a human brain can hold, and is the fastest growing user base now. Google is free, it enables collaboration and development of technology, potentially solving world problems. With an IQ of less than the average six year-old it outperforms Siri and Bing.
Wednesday: a petition signed by 30,000 people (including Steve Wozniak, Elon Musk, Yoshua Bengia and Geoffrey Hinton calls for an immediate pause in AI. Fears of “shadow versions” being used to hack websites and social media to spread misinformation, fake news, and propaganda. The “Daily Star” says boffins fear AI can be used to create new religions to control our minds, and perhaps even launch a nuclear war. “He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty Chatbox.”
There are other positive uses- for example in care for the elderly at home and seismic exploration (searching for oil etc)- so perhaps the “scare” stories are over-reaction. But too much knowledge and power in few hands can be dangerous. Some campaigners argue that data collection and storage and the use of that data need to be separated (ie in different companies). One super-“cloud” with all information gives over-much power.
A similar concern is the way food provision is in the hands of fewer large companies, whose profit can come from highly processed (and relatively cheap) products, with long-term poor health results (obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease) according to eg Chris van Tulleken (“Ultra-Processed People”- Cornerstone Press, 2023) and Tim Spector (“Food for Life”- Jonathan Cape, 2022).
Our reading was Ephesians chapter 1, verses 17 to 23, where the prayer is for “a spirit of wisdom and revelation”- clearly something needed if we are to take stock and learn how to manage these developments of our modern world. The letter goes on to speak about “rule and authority and power and dominion” in the world- not so much the people who exercise that rule and authority etc (chapter 6, verse 12 says “our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh”), but the powerful forces that exist in creation- forces such as the desire for wealth, the sense of racial identity, human sexuality and so on, which are good in themselves, but can become destructive (“demonic”?) if they are allowed to dominate human life and society (if they are “worshipped”). Ephesians says that the Ascension means that the love and justice of God seen in Christ, is greater than any of these. But putting that into practice is the constant task of the Church.