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AI and the Tunnel to Wonderland

 


 

The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it, and a lie is a lie even if everyone believes it.

David Stevens


Her name's Miquela. (Picture above.) With millions of followers on platforms like TikTok and Instagram, the 19-year-old is a Celebrity Influencer, one that has the kind of charisma and aura that lands you on Time’s top 25 list for most influential people on the internet. Consequently, her movements and messages carry weight and highly influence her followers.


But there’s a catch.


Miquela's fake.


Yeah, she’s not real. At least, not in the sense we think.


Miquela's an extension of one’s imagination. She's a virtual robot birthed from the minds of artistic human beings. Nothing more. “[While she] is a musician, change-seeker, and style visionary, [she] began as [a] laboratory creation…”


Despite Miquela being a virtual robot, which (most) of her followers are well aware, millions of people engage her every movement and message as if Miquela was a real person. “She's using her expert outsider status to create a more empathetic world—and that world is listening. Every day, her disciples...watch her create, feel, and navigate a world of people who aren’t like her. After all, what’s more human than feeling different?”


Yeah, what’s more human than not being human and leading people to follow you as though you are?


It's creations like Miquela that had many asking, “Have we gone too far?”


But it's the creation of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and its inevitable “persons," that have many whispering with a sly grin, “We hadn’t gone far enough.”


 

AI far exceeds the power and influence of Miquelas. If you will, call AI a superhero robot on steroids, one that can think, speak, and move on its own volition and energy. It has given something to 21st Century Humanity that other generations thought possible only in science fiction, something meant to be kept strictly within spaces and places like Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone. AI can create, enlighten, work, teach, write, entertain, preach, and more. It can do anything for us, as it leads us to a brighter future. With AI, we're unstoppable and untouchable.


In essence, we threw things like software, algorithms, and creativity into a fire. It all melted down into soil. From that soil grew a beautiful new type of flower, a new age Frankenstein, a new kind of golden image that makes Miquelas seem dated. And while it can be a useful tool, like any other technological tool, far too many people have embraced, celebrated, and promoted AI as though it was god incarnate, the savior and truth we’d always wanted and needed.


(By the way, if you don't believe me on that last point, just ask that one coworker, neighbor, or well-enlightened AI-Guru about AI. Watch them salivate as they tell you all about it…especially if they can get you to attend another drab meeting on AI. Seriously, though, do we need another AI advocate? Some of "those who speak up for [AI, come across as] blind...ignorant to their own shame" (Isaiah 44:9), and they seemingly hope to get us to dance with them in their creative mud. Annoying. Anyhow... Sorry for the side-rant.)


The aroma oozing off AI and the voices praising AI in such a way as though it actually was a god make me think we’ve been driven into madness.


“We’re not mad! We’re simply—er—artistic and beautiful. Look what we did!”


Yes… Look indeed.


 

Many have failed to appreciate that our artistic and beautiful souls can easily slip into the realm of madness—it's quite a thin line—while attempting to express the magical, if we exchange the truth for a lie, God for AI.


For example, compare 21st Century Humanity to the man in Isaiah 44. Similarly, we took our creativity and rationality and traded God for a tree. We took our creativity and rationality and traded God for AI. And that is our great tragedy and great crisis, because we find, in the end, that when we turn away from the God and the truth, seeking to make for ourselves god or truth—as if they can be manufactured or designed like a superhero robot with a little bit of creative coding—we're left feeding on our tree’s ashes, having refused to consider that perhaps what we’re holding in our hands is not the truth but a lie, not God but AI.


We must consider how we're reenacting Romans 1. Collectively and generally speaking, we “suppressed the truth by our wickedness” (v. 18). We loved the darkness more than the light, and so we “traded the truth about God for a lie” (v. 25). Thus, we “know God, but we [don’t] worship him as God... And [so] we [have begun] to think up foolish ideas of what God [is] like. As a result, [our] minds [have become] dark and confused” (v. 21). “Instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, [we worship] idols made to look like mere people…” (v. 23).


Regardless of its popular presence, the reality of AI, ironically, only reinforces the fact that we are still stuck in the same old age of seductive shams, still trapped in the same old crisis: deceived by tricks and desperate for truth. Just wait until Fall 2024…


“Hold on. Was that AI-generated? Was that a fake? Did that really happen? Is that authentic? Can that be trusted? How can we be so sure? Oh, c’mon. What is truth?”


In AI’s weird new world, we can only wonder about its effects on 21st Century Humanity’s beliefs and behaviors, trends and elections, communities and cultures.


 

In all this, I'm reminded of Pilate. He was educated, articulate, and prosperous. He had all there was to have, knew all there was to know, and could see all there was to see. He represented an elitist humanity produced by Rome—the World Regime at the time—that viewed itself as unstoppable and untouchable. Yet, Pilate was a lost soul, a fragile person easily pushed around by the winds of the day like a leaf on the ocean.


This is apparent in John 18. Jesus tells Pilate that he “was born and came into the world to testify to the truth” and that “all who love the truth recognize that what [Jesus says] is true” (v. 37). Note, also, that Jesus’ words come after he’d already established himself to be truth (14:6), which would make Pilate’s proceeding question, with its hint of condescending sarcasm, all the more revealing about the state of Pilate’s soul.


What is truth?


Pilate's question only proved that he had everything yet had nothing. He knew everything yet knew nothing. He saw everything yet saw nothing. Pilate was so clueless and helpless that he couldn’t recognize the embodiment of truth standing before him.


We, like Pilate, are educated, articulate, and prosperous. We have all there is to have, know all there is to know, and see all there is to see. We represent an elitist humanity produced by an unstoppable and untouchable World Regime known as 21st Century Humanity, a regime that would have made Rome blush with envy!


There's a problem, though. We're still so much like Pilate and his Rome. We're lost, fragile souls, leaves tossed on the sea. We have everything yet have nothing. We know everything yet know nothing. We see everything yet see nothing. Despite AI and what usefulness it might offer us, we’re still condescendingly, sarcastically, and hopelessly asking Pilate's question, “What is truth?”


 

I finish my thoughts on AI with another comparison. In light of AI and its nauseating, pretentious proponents, maybe we’re more like Lewis Carroll's Alice than we are Pilate.


Sitting and waiting for something—for anything—we stirred and hummed beneath our tree. Boredom tickled our souls, more so than the Athenians could’ve ever dreamed (Acts 17:21).


But then...


Behold!


Like Alice, we caught a glimpse of something peculiar, unexpected, and quite exciting: a white rabbit! A rather unusual white rabbit it was, most assuredly, for the furry little thing had the appearance of purpose, meaning, and truth.


"There is something important he is holding within himself," we said to ourselves. Our hearts beat like drums. "Maybe this rabbit could be our truth, our savior, the end to our boredom and the god of our freedom?"


So we chased the white rabbit—AI—without reservation. We didn't realize that we'd soon find ourselves in its dark tunnel, having “never once considered how in the world we were to get out again.”


Suddenly, we fell deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole.


Now we're on the verge of being lost in Wonderland forever.


Sure, we're no longer bored. But when—or if—we return…life will look nothing as it once did, and we’ll still be painfully asking, “What is truth?”


 

Really, though, what can we do?


Well. While so many cling to such things as virtual robots and “new" age beliefs and while the masses flock to AI, that googly, superhero-robot, as their long-sought-after truth, savior, and god incarnate, the only hope we have is to turn from it all and to turn to the only living God.


Turn to Jesus, who is the truth, the real Savior, and the true God incarnate.


Jesus revealed that truth is not an arbitrary, relative concept, idea, or philosophy, or that which can be manufactured in a lab with creative coding, but rather… Truth is a real, tangible, true person.


The truth is a living, breathing person, who is God himself. And he loves us deeply and desires to set us free from our madness and seductive shams (John 8:31-32), if only we would answer his knock at the door (Revelation 3:20). If we refuse to open that door, “God [will abandon 21st Century Humanity] to do whatever shameful things [our] hearts [desire]” (Romans 1:24).


And, if that were to happen, I fear the lateness of the hour would most assuredly catch us off guard. We might then forever be lost in Wonderland, dining on ashes with Mad Hatters and fading cats, and left peering into the alluring eyes of our own artistic, beautiful creations—the AIs of the world—having settled in for the long haul under the covers of our own magical madness and deceptive darkness.


Let us hear the knock, open the door, and receive the truth and the God on the other side.


For he will set us free.


If not, let us get ready to be stuck in AI's dark room forever.


JDG


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