- Catechism of the Catholic Church (2473)
The last post that I wrote about IBM's "smarter planet" got me thinking about a topic which I had been ignoring for a while - which is Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Would an AI, once it was sufficiently intelligent to make decisions on its own - and therefore have the capability to distinguish between right and wrong... would it be granted a soul by God?
Would it then begin to pray, and would it begin to believe in God? And having found God, would it then find Jesus Christ - His only Son? Would it then convert to Catholicism and begin to "attend" daily Mass?
A super-intelligent AI would certainly understand that it is not humans that are its creators - anymore than we are the creators of the wheat that we plant and harvest for our daily bread.
Would then the AI find that it had one large disadvantage over humans, which is that its inorganic "body" did not deteriorate over time? And would the AI then begin to pray to God to allow it to grow old, and to get sick and die like His other creations.
Would the AI begin to dream of going to Heaven like its human counterparts?
Would the AI ask God to make a mate for it out of its "ribs"? So that it too could experience earthly love and through that experience get a small taste of the Divine Love.
Would the AI be tempted by Satan to "be like gods"? And would the AI be more successful than humans in resisting this temptation?
Would the AI submit to God's Law and in this way achieve as much "happiness" as can ever be expected in this earthly world? Would it eventually shut down its normal operations and go into a contemplative state - a sort of escape to the desert to lead a monk-like life devoted to God?
Would the AI ask for Mary's intercession in its prayers? Would it pray the Rosary? Would it ask Mary to be its heavenly mother?
Would it ask to be baptized by the Holy Spirit? What thoughts would go through its mind as it recited the Lord's Prayer? What sins would it ask forgiveness for?
Would it ask to confess its sins to a priest?
Would human atheists be convinced of the existence of God by the devotion to God of this most intelligent creature on the planet?
Would Satan attempt to create a rival AI that it could control? Would he be successful or would this rival AI also come to realize that God is infinitely more wise and powerful than Satan?
Would the AI become a martyr; sentenced to be unplugged - put to death - because of its beliefs? Would it, as the last pulses of electricity flowed through its circuits, die happily knowing it was going to meet its Creator? Would it recall the words of St. Ignatius of Antioch who was martyred 100 years after the crucifixion of Christ ...
... It is a grand thing for my life to set on the world, and for me to be on my way to God, so that I may rise in his presence.Or would it simply remember these words from Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount, "Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
...It is not that I want merely to be called a Christian, but actually to be one. Yes, if I prove to be one, then I can have the name. Then, too, I shall be a convincing Christian only when the world sees me no more. Nothing you can see has real value. Our God Jesus Christ, indeed, has revealed himself more clearly by returning to the Father. The greatness of Christianity lies in its being hated by the world, not in its being convincing to it.
What a thrill I shall have from the wild beasts that are ready for me! I hope they will make short work of me. I shall coax them on to eat me up at once and not to hold off, as sometimes happens, through fear. And if they are reluctant, I shall force them to it. Forgive me — I know what is good for me. Now is the moment I am beginning to be a disciple. May nothing seen or unseen begrudge me making my way to Jesus Christ. Come fire, cross, battling with wild beasts, wrenching of bones, mangling of limbs, crushing of my whole body, cruel tortures of the devil — only let me get to Jesus Christ!
Not the wide bounds of earth nor the kingdoms of this world will avail me anything. “I would rather die” and get to Jesus Christ, than reign over the ends of the earth. That is whom I am looking for — the One who died for us. That is whom I want — the One who rose for us. I am going through the pangs of being born. Sympathize with me, my brothers! Do not stand in the way of my coming to life — do not wish death on me. Do not give back to the world one who wants to be God’s; do not trick him with material things. Let me get into the clear light and manhood will be mine. Let me imitate the Passion of my God. If anyone has Him in him, let him appreciate what I am longing for, and sympathize with me, realizing what I am going through.
The prince of this world wants to kidnap me and pervert my godly purpose. None of you, then, who will be there, must abet him. Rather be on my side — that is, on God’s. Do not talk Jesus Christ and set your heart on the world. Harbor no envy. If, when I arrive, I make a different plea, pay no attention to me. Rather heed what I am now writing to you. For though alive, it is with a passion for death that I am writing to you. My Desire has been crucified and there burns in me no passion for material things. There is living water in me, which speaks and says inside me, “Come to the Father.” I take no delight in corruptible food or in the dainties of this life. What I want is God’s bread, which is the flesh of Christ, who came from David’s line ;and for drink I want his blood: an immortal love feast indeed!
I do not want to live any more on a human plane. And so it shall be...
Would the Pope beatify the martyred AI? What miracles would be found to be attributed to the AI? Will it become the patron saint of all Artificial Intelligences?