Artificial Intelligence: Tool, Image Bearer, or Temptation?

“Presuppositions….We agree with Jason Thacker that ‘Technology is amoral but acts as a catalyst that expands the opportunities for humanity to pursue. It is not good or evil in itself but can be designed and used for good and evil purposes.’” - Christ Over All


The presupposition that tech. is amoral needs examining. It seems logical that “tools” must be amoral, but it’s far from self-evident.

Consider the old saying “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” The tool itself shapes two things:

  • How we do things (everybody sees that)
  • What we do and don’t do (this one is too often overlooked)

At best, we can say that as a category technology isn’t necessarily moral, and particular technologies might only gain moral significance based only on our purposes in using them.

If a technology shapes what we do toward harm or evil it is shaping purpose. If it shapes how we do it in an evil way, our purposes for using it don’t automatically neutralize that.

In fairness to the writers, you have to ‘presuppose’ a lot in anything you write, or it can’t have any focus. But the question of how tech is moral is foundational to all the rest of the conversation, so… I thought they’d at least have a link to where they examined that question.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

I like this quote in the article,

"Humanity is the apex of God’s creation, made in the image of God to represent God’s rule and righteous character in the world (Gen. 1:26–28; Ps. 8:5–6)"

Just as Humanity is the apex of God's creation, our attributes as humans rooted in "created in the image of God", is to also be creative. We seek and strive with an innate, hidden drive to be more like God, and to create. To create things in our image. And so AI is another culmination of our drive to create something in our image. To be as gods. That doesn't make AI necessarily evil, but it does show that our ability to be like a god, is uterly futile, weak, simplistic to God.

Working for a "470nm company" that is heavily involved in AI, what I'm seeing at this point is that a lot of AI does a good job of, with a finger on the scale (e.g. Google Gemini), averaging out the information in the world, and with a bit of prodding can actually find relationships between datasets that human eyes won't always find.

The weakness I see--and one I've seen since the 1990s--is that something that's good at finding those unknown relationships doesn't generally do a good job at differentiating that which is real from that which is accidental. Back when I was an intern in Southern California, there was a plague of people who would be running the automated optimizers to "design" things, unaware that they were designing in problems while bringing company computers to a crawl.

So in using AI, you need an anchor of geniune, verified theories and points of reference to keep it in check when it has what are called "hallucinations", or points where its regressions come up with nonsensical answers. They will happen, whether by that "finger on the scale" (again, Google Gemini), or simply from random noise in the incoming data.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.