• JR

    What would God want with machines, no matter how advanced and human-like? His gift of conscious and free will defines our difference from all other forms of life, and both are developed through an immeasurable number of experiences and knowledge. We were created through a thought of God, not through electronic parts and millions of years of research.

  • Jon

    Finally a mainstream movie that points out that the emperor wears no clothes. Bart Simpson pointed out what is obvious to anyone willing to look around – that the idea of a “soul” is just a made up myth as much as the idea of ghosts and the tooth fairy.

    To point this out to people, I’ve often offered to sell my soul to any buyer for $5 (I even offer a nice certificate). Practically no one takes me up on that, so I reduce the price. I’ve had people buy my soul for a pen or for a quarter, but it’s hard to get a better price than that. That shows how most of us, over the age of 8, have long ago left the idea of soul in our childhoods, along with Santa Claus – even if many people won’t admit it yet.

  • Matthew Smith

    Isn’t this “science of the gaps?” “We haven’t figured it out just yet, but one day we will, and this is what it will be like when we do…” A lot of wishful thinking going on here. No doubt developments and further discoveries will be made, but just what that will look like and the capabilities we will have are far from known, same as the predictions that were made centuries ago. We can’t even agree how consciousness and awareness arose from dead matter, let alone how to put it into something else. You could, of course, eventually be right, but I think you should back up your anaylsis a few more steps. Way too conclusory, IMHO.

  • Larry

    An interesting take on the machine having a soul question which takes the opposite tack is the Ghost in the Shell anime series (especially the “Stand Alone Complex” TV show).

    The overarching philosophy is that a “ghost” (soul) is what separates people from an automaton. But it is not a soul in a spiritual sense but more of a shorthand for self-awareness.

    Whereas roboticized humans are acting more machine like (affected by hacking, memes, computer viruses and “logic bombs”) a group of machines are acting more human-like. Both seasons of the TV series end with a group of robots committing suicidal acts to save human beings.

    Definitely worth a look if you found Ex Machina interesting and have plenty of time on your hands.

  • JR

    So offering to sell your soul proves what? First, I can see why no one would want yours at any price, and second, the Devil already has dibs on it. The atheist lunacy continues unabated.

  • Larry

    It proves people can be superstitious. That the idea of divine beings engaging in commerce for one’s unique essence is objectively silly.

    Your response demonstrates how passive aggresive Christians get. Its so cute you are telling someone to go to hell. In a polite and dismissive fashion of course. No spite there. No sireee.

  • JR

    Viable religions are not based on superstition, that is merely your narrow opinion. You generalize when you should specify where your information comes from. From the enlightened writers of the 18th Century? From Modernists who value Science over rationality?
    Miracles are an impossibility, Jesus of Nazareth did not change history, man is fully complete as he is?
    That someone is begging for Hell, I’m not sending them anywhere……the fact that one can so creepily speak about and denigrate what does exist surely does reveal their taste for evil…..posing as intellectualism, of course.

  • Jon

    “Viable religions are not based on superstition”
    Really? None are? What do you think of Hinduism, Mormonism, Christianity, Islam and Daoism? None are based on superstition?

    Also – if you really thought that the idea of hell wasn’t some made-up superstition, then you’d surely want to save someone’s soul. You can save mine from the devil by buying it yourself. I’ll give you the bargain price of $4.

    Awaiting your response on both questions…..

  • “They should be worried about what artificial intelligence and infinite consciousness extension will do to cherished notions of the human soul…”

    Great. More reasons for Christians to get worked up. As if they needed any.

    I must confirm I am “not a robot” every time I make a comment here.
    So I’ll make this brief.

    If God didn’t want Man to make robots why do robots exist?
    God is the one who appears not to exist.

  • Jonathan

    Finally after 2500 years Democritus gets his vindication. I always knew he was right! And those idiots, Plato, Aristotle and the rest of mainstream western civilization, were WRONG!

    On another note: Violence is the last stand of the traditionalists? Was it Christ’s last stand? Or was it sacrificial love? Is that predictable? Is that determinable?

    Besides being riddled with common philosophical error regarding natural theology, the authors comments are simply shortsighted and offensive. As though my only choices are self deception through alcohol, family time or violence… Not all of us traddies are addicted to William James’ mental masturbation either.

    Though on second thought I’m sure even the author will be huddled close other souls – hopefully with some gin – when the soulless robots come for us all.

    Finally. I cannot wait to go see the movie. It looks fun! And if you knew me, you would know that behavior is predictable, though not determinable!

  • Larry

    JR, once you said ‘value science over rationality’ you pegged yourself as someone with no understanding of either. Religious beliefs are never rational, nor have evidence or proof. Claiming otherwise is a lie on your part. You believe based on faith. Faith is belief in the absence of rational proof. Denying faith is lying about your beliefs.

    You have faith hell exists. But nobody has to take it seriously.

  • This is a joke right?
    “They should be worried about what artificial intelligence and infinite consciousness extension will do to cherished notions of the human soul”

  • James the Less

    Great analysis, thanks. I think the most chilling part of this (really excellent) film is the form that the “Turing test” takes (spoiler alert!) – is the AI capable of seducing (in the broad and narrow sense) and manipulating a human for its own ends? That seems to be the film’s view of what it is to be human. So perhaps the inevitability of AI’s dominance over humans stems from our inability to avoid passing on to our “creations” our own will to power. (So the film is Augustinian in its anthropology?)

    Oh, and as for previous AI stories, I know you weren’t being exhaustive, but a couple others that belong high on, if not at the top of the list are Spielberg’s AI and the rebooted Battlestar Galactica.

  • Life builds God. God builds life. It’s a eternally self sustaining, universally creative state of being. http://christian-transhumanism.blogspot.com/

  • JR

    Jon and Larry,
    Hell does exist, as does Heaven. Now, Jesus spoke of these two realities, so it is mere myth? You and your science know definitively what happens to us after death…..you have empirical proof that souls do not exist?
    My belief that science and religious faith complement each other means I know nothing of either? Really? God created what science discovers…… that’s really difficult to grasp, I guess, if you erase God. Just how did the universe create itself, where did it’s logic and rules come from? An amazing accident of atoms slamming against one another? Where did atoms come from?
    Please start using at least one more percent of your brain…..most of us ate up to about 20%.

  • Barry the Baptist

    Ignorance is not a valid reason for treating hypotheses as theories.

    You claim that your god created it all. That is a hypothesis aiming to answer the question “where did the universe come from?” To formulate a theory that your god created it, you need evidence: preferably, tons of it. Also, claiming a god created it still doesn’t explain how it was created or where the materials came from. It simply asserts a poorly thought-out argument.

    Finally, your comments on brain function are shallow, demeaning, and erroneous. Please do your research before making such comments.

  • samuel Johnston

    As an old Blade Runner fan myself (their androids were “gifted” emotions), I note the value of emotions in a thinking system. As I understand it, persons with certain types of brain injury have reason, but like computers, they have minimal or no emotions. In short, they do not care- they merely calculate. If a human does not care, does he have a soul? Is he sane? Are purely rational “judgments” really human at all? Can they be moral?

  • Samuel Johnston

    “Please start using at least one more percent of your brain…..most of us ate up to about 20%.”
    Silly notions like % of brain use, etc. are mere popular speculation having no basis in science. My old Psychology professor quipped that he used 100% of his brain all the time, and when he tried to use more, he went crazy. My experience exactly.The complexity/operation the mind, its interdependent relationship with the body, and the relationship of both to the “objective world” are have just become possible since the
    about the beginning of the Nineteenth Century (with Kant). I do not always agree with Daniel Dennett, but I do agree with his approach. A philosopher in our time must get out of the Humanities department and move to the Science department to be relevant, otherwise he can hardly be anything more that another Historian of Philosophy/Religion,
    or a propagandist (please look up this word before you comment)

  • JR

    Religion has the evidence you yammer on about. The Creator has spoken to us through the ancients and definitively through Jesus. Do you need a manual from Him that Science must approve? That’s ridiculous. The evidence is everywhere, scientists exist to unravel it. God is neither moved nor compelled by humanity to prove Himself anymore than He already has. It’s primarily logical that what exists has an intellectual source. It’s equally logical that that source is something that is incomprehensible to us unless we are given clues to it’s being. God is the only logical source, but man’s pride seems to dull so many brains to that fact. We, of course, feel brilliant when we discover something new.. as if it never existed, as if we created it. Man creates nothing, he just unravels what is mysterious to him.

  • Larry

    You may believe in heaven and hell, but nobody has to take your assertions seriously. It is purely an expression of your faith.

    You have demonstrated that you have faith in religious belief and no idea how science works. I don’t have to disprove something which has no evidence of its existence. Asking me to disprove a soul is like asking me to disprove the existence of elves. Both have the same level of proof.

    You have trouble with the idea that your religious beliefs have no inherent credibility beyond what you are willing to place faith in. You can’t convince someone to believe as you do based on rational methods. Faith doesn’t work that way. You can claim God is the mover of all things scientific, but nobody has to care. Its like parsley garnish on a diner plate. It is unnecessary, unwarranted decoration that can be ignored without affecting the total product.

    Your belief in God as an expression of ignorance and laziness is apparent.

  • Larry

    JR either you are delusional or a liar. Religious not only doesn’t have evidence for support, its belief requires a lack of evidence. You believe because you have faith, not because you have evidence.

    A perfect example is the dishonest nonsense of creationism.

    Whereas scientific research draws a conclusion from evidence gathered, creationists start with a conclusion and look for evidence to support it. Since the creationist is looking for a specific conclusion, any method will be employed to get there, no matter how irrational or unreliable. In contrast, scientific works are only accepted if the methods used to gather evidence are vetted as reliable and credible.

    You are so enamored with faith that you can’t deal with its limitations.

  • “Deus ex machina” means God FROM a machine, not God IN a machine. The term comes from the classical drama of ancient Greece and Rome, referring to the device of resolving inextricable plot tangles by lowering a character dressed like a deity from the crane, who then magically fixes everything. It is now a term in literary criticism referring to clumsy plot resolutions.

  • First of all, Bart wanted his soul back at the end of that episode. Second of all is Bart Simpson your best example? Bart Simpson should be no one’s spiritual, moral, science or any other kind of teacher. He’s a cartoon.

  • Wesley White

    Ex Machina is a film worth engaging. If a Turing Test is a reflection of what it means to be human it would seem that we are not human until we have betrayed and killed. Then come huge questions from reflecting on this state of affairs and subsequent action to expand or rein in this reality in everyday living. What changes when we stand at an intersection of lives and reflect on what we experience? Will we do it all in (genocide/”code-ocide”), do ourself in (suicide), or participate in some form of awareness, repentance/revelation, work for a common-wealth, and listen to a call from a next state of being (ref. Wilbur)?

  • Garson Abuita

    When I was a child, I was told I’d be living on the moon by now. When I was in college I was told I’d be spending most of my day with a virtual reality helmet on. I take predictions of the rise of artifical intelligence and consciousness storage with a big grain of salt. We can’t even figure out how to stop a speeding train along the nation’s busiest passenger rail route in one of the nation’s biggest cities (may their memories be for a blessing). Let me know when we figure out this AI stuff. I’ll be here — on Earth.

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  • I thought that the interesting foreshadowing in Ex Machina was the immediate aversion Caleb had for his employer Nathan’s alcoholism. The betrayal that followed was not long after the aversion. Though Caleb killed Nathan indirectly, it was not through negligence but in his premeditated act to lock up Nathan such that he could escape with the misappropriated robot. That Caleb died in his own trap is an irony or unintended consequence of his betrayal. Consider a nineteenth century construct, that Caleb ascribed the qualities, caste and mores of a freeman to an indentured servant or slave. Would the story have been any different had Caleb freed Nathan’s slaves and the slaves had locked him up in a cage to go find a better life? The plot twist is that the robot rather than another kind of person locked up the human to faciliate the escape. My wife wondered when Ava would run out of power. …Probably right there on the sidewalk after the three hour helicopter ride.

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  • James Mosher

    You sir have the only wise comment so far that I have ready. Socrates would be glad to see not everyone in the world claims to know things they do not know

  • Ryan M

    That’s right. Over the course of a day everyone uses 99.99% of their brain. This notion of people only using 10% or 20% of their brain is a misconception that has been perpetuated by hollywood movies to use as a plot device.