Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Anti-Christ: A Machine?

In both Christianity and Islam, there is an idea of the Antichrist – Muslims refer to him as the dajjal or the “The Deceiver”. Both religions characterize him similarly as well. He is portrayed as a person that everyone will love. He will be incredibly intelligent, handsome, eloquent – a perfect politician. He will claim to have the answer to all the world’s problems and will bring about a false peace and prosperity – until everything goes south and he unleashes his evil. He will also have control over everybody and force people to pledge allegiance to him.

Of course, his reign of evil will be short-lived. Many Christians believe in the return of Jesus. Muslims believe that a man known as Mahdi (roughly translated as the Messiah) will rise up alongside Jesus. One or both will stand up against the Antichrist, defeat him, and begin a new age of prosperity and peace.

What if the Antichrist is not a man? What if “he” is a machine?

As computers become more and more sophisticated and able, we rely on them more and more. There will most likely come a day when a computer will be as capable as a human being – known as strong Artificial Intelligence (AI). Once that happens, it will quickly become smarter than any human and more capable. We may turn to it to solve all of our problems. Equipped with all human knowledge, and able to quickly make new knowledge, it will be able to perform what seems to be miracles. Since we rely on computers so much, it will be able to take control of all of our information and daily activities – we will gladly give it this ability since it will seem to be more capable.

What if this machine developed a super-ego? What if it became so arrogant of its abilities that it claims to be a god? What if it forces all of humanity to wear tracking devices? What if it was able to take control of the world’s military?

This is only hypothetical. Armageddon may never happen. Maybe by discussing the idea of the Antichrist, we are taking steps to make sure he/it never happens. It’s a shame, though – life after the Antichrist is supposed to be very good (for those of us who are still alive to see it).

The inspiration for this posting came while I was watching a 2-hour documentary on the History Channel called “The Antichrist”. It talked about the history of the Antichrist and the different beliefs. I tied in the ideas with the science news I read and books from Ray Kurzweil.


At 8:40 PM, Blogger Elfstone said...

There is an argument against fearing a self-aware artificial intelligence, one I read in the book "Life, and how to make it" by Steve Grand. It simply is that it would be impossible to create artificial intelligence without giving it emotions...the two are connected. With emotions and intelligence, comes empathy. So, as humans can be proud and evil, the machine could be humble and benign.

At 12:25 PM, Blogger andrea said...

really interesting post. gave me something to think about.


At 3:41 PM, Blogger Abdullah said...

I doubt that. He is nothing but a powerful, evil man. Jesus (Issa) -peace be upon him- will return and kill him on the gate of Hudd (near an Israeli airport). The final war between the Zionists and Muslims will ensue and the Muslims will be victorious. The death of the Anti-Christ will be the end of all wars. Jihad will be stopped; peace, harmony and tranquility will be on earth... but then Yajooj and Majooj will be released... Prophet Issa -peace be upon him- and the Muslims will pray for the removal of the calmity and their prayers will be answered. The Yajooj and Majooj will develop boil infections, causing them to burst simultaneously as a result.

How do I know all this? Refer to the numerous scripts about the Anti-Christ. Anything but that is nice story to tell the kids before they go to bed ;)


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