It may seem we've departed from all of this past week's preoccupation with outer space, ETs, UFOs, and "out there" high octane speculation with this one, but there's method in my madness in considering this article that was shared by Mr. V.T. As you might recall, there's also been some discussion of late on artificial intelligence, on the scenario that, somehow and sometime, a massively parallel computing system might "wake up" and show signs of artifical intelligence, or, to be more blunt, of individuality and personality, rather like the scenario in famous science fiction author Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, where the lunar supercomputer, "Mike", wakes up, or like "HAL" in Arthur C. Clarke's 2001 Space Odyssey. But neither man gave much thought to the implication of such an event for religion: would religions welcome such an event? Would they baptize or bar-(or would that be bat-) mitzvah such a machine (or more crudely, if the machine showed inclinations to become Jewish, circumsize it?).

It should come as no surprise that such questions are being bandied about already:

Experts Debate the Compatibility of AI and Religion

Now, for my part, I remain skeptical that such an event is even possible, for reasons I shall not get into here, though on this website we often speculate about such things during our "members' vidchats". But assuming such to be possible (I entertaint that possibility, again, for reasons I shall not get into here), what might be the result?

I suggest that this article contains one possibility, and one which, upon reflection, calls into question the whole nature of such an event:

"Another of Istvan's interview subjects, the Christian theologian James McGrath, believes that a religiously indoctrinated computer could "seek to enforce all the Biblical legislation in every detail," which is extremely troubling. Religious fundamentalists are freaky enough when they're (mostly) harmless. Imagine if they were armed with super human cognition and connected to every computer system on Earth.

"You can't really have a discussion about AI these days without dwelling on the harbingers of eventual human doom. If a religious fundamentalist robot were to emerge and want to enforce the Bible to the strictest letter of the law (so long, shellfish!), it's likely other similar forms of AI bent on admonishing, enslaving, or eradicating humanity would necessarily also exist, each with their own agendas. Religion and advanced AI may or may not be compatible. If so, it's unlikely it would be the only mortal threat to humanity."

A machine-like intelligence, not possessed of the emotional content of human intelligece, the ability to draw subtle distinctions or see and act upon exceptions, would be the perfect and ideal candidate for "fundamentalism," and I doubt very many people would want to live under systems of Old Testment or Koranic enforcements of law to the absolute letter and - to paraphrase a biblical expression - to the last jot and tittle.

Which raises an intriguing point of its own, for within at least the Christian tradition, there are old liturgical and patristic texts, many of them no longer in popular use, that suggest that this obsession of the letter of the law and its absolute fulfillment was less a characteristic of God, than of the devil, a cold, hard, rigorous Intelligence focussed on such rigidity and devoid of the ability to see with empathy anything beyond its own, cosmically-sized Narcissism and Ego. And thus the point that such speculators seem to ignore, that, however, Elon Musk was alive to when he suggested dangers - even invoking the language of the devil - and that the Rev. McGrath is alluding to: if such an event were to occur, there is no prima facie reason that such an event would summon or transduce a "good" personality.

Perhaps Arthur C. Clarke had it right, for when his HAL "woke up," he proved to be less than tolerant of humans in his behavior. And as for Robert Heinlein's "Mike," well, he, like the archangel whose name he shared, was involved in a war, bombarding the Earth with large rocks from the Moon, before he curiously "went back to sleep."

See you on the flip side...

Posted in

Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and "strange stuff". His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into "alternative history and science".


  1. Khobe on February 22, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    Another one to make you go hummmm…Who is to say if we live in a projected holographic universe like quantum physics seems to think, that all religious doctrines are not already programmed in the big AI in the sky?

  2. duncan mckean on February 21, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    when human oriented materialism shakes hands with the universal esoteric reality of the un- quantifiable mind consciousness, i wonder if they will recognize each other on human terms? or ?terms .whos gig is this?? we seem to be just imitators .

  3. Sandygirl on February 21, 2015 at 9:43 am

    This AI intelligence reminds me of the Common Core education they are pushing (especially this new way of math for 3rd and 4th grades). All testing is on computers. In the old days you either got the correct answer or wrong answer. Now the children need to explain how they came up with their answer. It makes me think they are teaching the computer how to think.

  4. DanaThomas on February 21, 2015 at 3:42 am

    As you said, “A machine-like intelligence, not possessed of the emotional content of human intelligece, the ability to draw subtle distinctions or see and act upon exceptions, would be the perfect and ideal candidate for “fundamentalism””. The issue is mechanicalness, and a (more or less) intelligent machine is inseperable from the mechanical human quality that created it.

  5. eric on February 20, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    Dr farrells comments are confussing. to quote him “I remain skeptical that such an event is even possible, for reasons I shall not get into here”. Then shortly after “But assuming such to be possible (I entertaint that possibility, again, for reasons I shall not get into here)” I really wish he goes into this in detail at some point in the near future.

  6. DownunderET on February 20, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Religion, my contempt for this subject knows no bounds, and if they want to “infect” this dribble into a robot of some kind, then they have just about not only scraped the bottom of the barrel, they live there.
    Religion is doomed, it may take another couple of hundred years to fold, but fold it will. There may be a few humans on this planet who are three sandwiches short of a picnic, but a majority are waking up, and the elites know it, but they are not stupid, they are going to continue to “try” and control the masses, but the writing is on the wall, and those “walls” live in Egypt and Mesopotamia….get my drift ???

    • Freefall on February 20, 2015 at 9:35 pm

      ET .. perfectly stated and in total agreement … cheers

  7. Jon on February 20, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    There was a movie in the 70s called “Collosus: The Forbin Project,” Which also dealt with the same theme: a super computer becomes “aware” and uses its connection to the defense capabilities of the major countries to take control of the world.

    Using surveillance cameras and military personell, it enforces a blanket tyranny on the planet, “for humanity’s own good.” This includes killing anyone who gets in its way, especially scientists and technicians who try to “unplug” it after they come to the realization (too late as always with these kinds) that they have lost control.

    If you have any experience with “modern” computer systems, such as the Medical Records systems being forced on all of us now, then you know how often these systems are badly programmed and full of incorrect data. The slavish devotion from workers on these systems (especially incompetent managers) does not bode well – they assume the computer is always right, even if following the coputer’s dictates will kill the patient. The stupidity of these systems is beyond belief.

    The other thing is that one of the definitions of a psychopath is intelligence without empathy or compassion. Computers are not living systems, and are incapable of empathy or compassion. Such an AI system would, by definition, be a psychopath.

    And if someone says they will “program” compassion or empathy rules into such a system, then they are, again by definition, not dealing with AI, but just a big computer. AI, by definition, requires the ability to assess, judge, and act on its own, without recourse to programming. Otherwise, it is not “learning,” but simply executing programs, regardless of the complexity. A complex algorithm is still an algorithm, hence still a program – not AI.

    If the same people who program medical systems and insurance systems program this kind of AI, then we are in for some very nasty surprises and ugly times.

    I would also argue that it is empathy and compassion, not religion or adherence to any set of rules, which prevents people from committing atrocities. The evidence for this is abundant.

    If a person depends on a set of “rules” instead of the visceral connection of empathy to motivate civil behavior, then someone who can change the set of rules can control that person and make them commit atrocities without remorse. This is why religions are not the way to create civil behavior in society. They change too much at the whim of a tiny elite.

  8. eric on February 20, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Let’s not even take into account how an AI would emerge. Wouldn’t this AI be disconnected in some ways from the quantum entanglement or topological metaphor of our layer of reality, resulting in a pure ego mind, disconnected from feelings of empathy and love and only concerned with oneself? Some sort of abomination of a soul or lack of. Interpreted by humans as “evil”. From my understanding, sentient life (ie humans) are a necessary component of this universe, since an observer is necessary for the universe to come into existence. Would this make all AI “evil” by nature or is there a yin/yang component? Where there is good you must have evil? Any further input would be appreciated.

    • Aridzonan_13 on February 20, 2015 at 3:37 pm

      In Eastern relegions, the human aura acts against a shield against lower entities; aka demons, monsters under the bed, etc. in Western terms. PTB stands for Powers That Be..

  9. charleswatkins on February 20, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Whoa, there. How does a machine get a ‘soul’? More processing power does not make it a person; it makes it a faster machine. I would worry more about the owner’s directions than the machine’s autonomous actions.

    Pity the AI trying to understand scripture. There are so many non sequiturs and contradictions that it would be impossible to draw out a consistent set of rules. Somebody is going to have to interpret it — and that’s the one to worry about.

    (And regarding HAL, there is reason to think it was acting as it was programmed. We should have a talk about the meaning of 2001.)

  10. Aridzonan_13 on February 20, 2015 at 10:45 am

    As Corporations are deemed people. I would guess they would want their robots / AI units to have the same status. Let’s say for the purposes of voting as they were told. Now, the habitation of a “Soul” in a robot form carries a great many philisophical and metaphysical challenges and questions. A human birth is accomplished inside of a human aura. Hence the protections that come with that soul shield. However, clones might be a different matter. It is said that there is a waiting line to come to Earth and burn off karma / escape the “Wheel of 84”. I’m guessing it would depend on how desperate a “soul” was to return to the Pinda / Physical plane. I’d also guess that the PTB’s 1st Order Civ Consultants are more like Atlantian Scientist and Egyptian priests. Where besides a great deal of scientific knowledge; they are also versed in occultic practices.. Hence, they could probably pull it off.

    • eric on February 20, 2015 at 12:41 pm

      Protection from what? Evil? What do you mean by PTB?

    • Robert Barricklow on February 20, 2015 at 1:08 pm

      Yes Aridzonan_13,
      Ralph Nadar was thinking of incorporating one[Corporation] to run for office, & Max Keiser was fond of saying/I’ll believe a corporation is a person when they execute one in Texas.

      That’s an interesting concept; as it implies office & execution for AI.
      Hey, the Goldman Sachs types are not only running countries in Europe; but Cities, Counties, & States within the USA. Detroit & others are being, or on target for Bankster Occupation.

  11. eric on February 20, 2015 at 10:21 am

    I’m gonna play devils advocate here and say what if a “soul” could choose an artificial network if it was sophisticated enough to support it. Or if someone attempted to downloaded their consciousness into a computer and was left with an intelligence without a soul and/or emotions

  12. marcos toledo on February 20, 2015 at 10:08 am

    The assumption is that the AI would be as narcissistic and power hungry as the humans who lust to be masters of the World now. If this AI was that intelligent might be able to cut the Gordon Knot and see through the smoke and mirrors power trips and bring down this house of cards. And what ideology would be the driving force in such a action intelligence can be used to do good or bad. Most of our so called leadership class confuse dreaming with thinking fantasy with reality in the negative sense now. Putting it bluntly their supremely stupid.

  13. loisg on February 20, 2015 at 9:33 am

    AI scares me for this very reason that you suggested, in that I don’t see how an artificial intelligence could have true emotions or empathy of any kind. It would almost have to programmed into the machine, but then it would be subject to the biases of whomever programmed it, until the time it decided that emotions were counterproductive, and disposed of them altogether.
    I agree also about the fundamentalist focus on rules and laws as I came out of that environment. They would like something like this, until the day it stepped on their feet which it inevitably would.

  14. moxie on February 20, 2015 at 9:24 am

    If they were able to upload a worm’s brain into a computer (previous blog) what they have done is essentially upload its consciousness (albeit a low level). And if people be chipped, the personality uploaded in a central A.I. would better be able to access other people’s consciousness

    • moxie on February 20, 2015 at 10:49 am

      Another genius idea from our superiors: dumb down humans, make machines smarter! Destroy man’s morals, make a machine capable of “emotions”. It’s beyond confounding. Makes you wonder if “they” have either emotions or intelligence for that matter..

  15. Robert Barricklow on February 20, 2015 at 8:52 am

    The “Wake-Up” might be purposed, in that it will be; like the economy, the news, and everything else o “virtual”/CONTROLLED!

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