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2084: Artificial Intelligence, The Future of Humanity and the God Question HB

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  • ISBN 9780310109563
  • Author LENNOX JOHN C
  • Pub Date 01/01/2020
You don't have to be a computer scientist to get involved in the discussion about where artificial intelligence and technology are going.What will the year 2084 hold for you--for your friends, for your family, and for our society? Are we doomed...
You don't have to be a computer scientist to get involved in the discussion about where artificial intelligence and technology are going.What will the year 2084 hold for you--for your friends, for your family, and for our society? Are we doomed to the grim dystopia imagined in George Orwell's 1984?

In 2084, scientist and philosopher John Lennox will introduce you to a kaleidoscope of ideas: the key developments in technological enhancement, bioengineering, and, in particular, artificial intelligence. You will discover the current capacity of AI, its advantages and disadvantages, the facts and the fiction, as well as potential future implications.The questions posed by AI are open to all of us. And they demand answers. A book that is written to challenge all readers, no matter your worldview, 2084 shows how the Christian worldview, properly understood, can provide evidence-based, credible answers that will bring you real hope for the future of humanity.

As reviewed by Dr. Stephen McQuoid in August 2020- '2084: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity by thinker and apologist John Lennox. This is an extraordinary little book which initially gives the reader the impression that it is essentially a Christian perspective on Artificial Intelligence (AI). However, it is so much more and all the better for it. Lennox begins by mapping out the territory and describing what AI is and hinting what it can achieve. He also distinguishes between AI and AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) which is a more developed form of AI. In these early chapters he does not deal with very many applications of AI, but he does touch on some important ones. For example, he deals with surveillance capitalism and also the surveillance society that exists in China today and points out the threat that these pose, especially the latter. He also touches on the positive benefits of AI and what it can achieve for the benefit of all.

At this point he takes a step back and notes how key novelists, thinkers and scientists have reflected on the issue of AI and also the future of humanity. Particular attention is given to Yuval Harari and his book Homo Deus (which I reviewed last year). Lennox notes that Harari predicts humanity will so utilise AI in the future that it will embrace transhumanism to the extent that people will no longer be recognisably human. He also refers to the work of Max Tegmark of MIT who, in his book Life 3.0, suggested a similar dystopian vision of the future in the form of an AGI project nicknamed Prometheus. Lennox argues that many of those who predict such a future are motivated by a naturalistic worldview and do not have the ethical foundation necessary to make moral decisions about the future of AI. However, before the reader gets too carried away, Lennox sows a word of caution stating that AI is not nearly as advanced as many popularisers would suggest and he helpfully reminds us that even the most developed attempts at AI fall far short of replicating the essential qualities of humanity.

As the book comes to an end, Lennox begins to focus on the future from a biblical perspective looking at key passages in Paul’s writings, Daniel and Revelation. At this point the book becomes highly expansive as he draws images from Homo Deus and other books such as Brave New World (Aldous Huxley) and Hideous Strength (CS Lewis) and imagines how the advent of AI with all its capability makes it entirely conceivable that the world could be controlled by a highly powerful world government and even one headed by a single individual. He wisely does not attempt to identify when, what or who this might be, but states that when the time comes, there will be no need to speculate. This, he suggests, should not put us off developing AI for the benefit of mankind, but should remind us that there has always been a battle between God and the Devil and it will end with the ultimate victory of Christ.

It is remarkable how much Lennox has packed into such a small book. It is challenging, sobering, exhilarating and brilliant as an insight into technology and the future.'

Book information:
ISBN: 9780310109563
Publisher: Zondervan
Pub date: 09 Jul 2020
Number of pages: 240
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