God and AI

December 20, 2021 Ansgar Bittermann, Ken Tsay Season 1 Episode 22
God and AI
Show Notes

In our special Christmas episode, Ansgar Bittermann, CEO of Goldblum Consulting, is talking to Brother Ken Tsay from the Local Church in Berlin. Ken is originally from Taiwan and after a few years in Switzerland calls Berlin now his home. 
Artificial intelligence is developing in a rapid speed and AI applications become more and more human-like in their behavior. As AI is moving closer and closer to show human-like behavior, many people ask themselves if this will have a substantial impact on religions and religions’ self-perception. 

Thus in our Christmas special today, Brother Ken and I will try to untangle this question and hopefully give you some answers to this existential question. 

We ask "What is a human, what differentiates him from animals?", "What is the Spirit? Is it that bodiless organ which helps us to connect to God?", How does love relate to the Spirit? And could General AI become beings without spirit, eternal beings without the need for god?"

For this podcast about religion, we gave us ground rules. When talking about religion, it is important to be clear and precise to not cause confusion. Fighting about religion is much easier than having an academic, civil discourse.

·       First of all, in this Podcast we assume that God exists. 

·       Secondly, as we are an international truth seeking podcast, we specifically called it broadly “God and AI” and not “the Catholic Church or Islam and AI”. All three book religions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) pray to the same God. The God of the Christians is the same God the Jews pray to – the God of their Forefather Abraham. And also in Koran Sure 12:39 says: ”And I follow the religion of my fathers Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.”

·       Thirdly, we want to assume that when we talk about God here, we mean the all-mighty God which different religions and cultures gave different names like God, Khodah, Allah or Jehova – but they all mean the same devine being – the Creator of everything. 

·       And fourthly we assume that God’s word has been distorted over hundreds and thousands of years as humans err and sin. Thus we assume – as in an ML algorithm, you have a true value (e.g. the direct discussion which God had with a prophet) and then over the course of hundreds or even thousands of years this conversation or true value was mostly not correctly handed down from generation to generation or was even purposely changed for political or cultural reasons. For example the famous example of the camel which doesn’t fit through the eye of the needle. Some researchers assume that the original text read camelos which meant rope and not camel. Thus religions nowadays express a religious view (or observant variable) which consists of a true value(God’s word) and an error component (what humans made out of it). 
 We assume, it is this error component which deflects people’s appreciation of God. We do not oppose religion, but we all have to be aware that human religious expression of any kind is the sum of a true value and an error component. And stressing the erring human component in an religion never critizes God, but takes “the fall of man” into account and applies this to everything we do today. Or as Jesus said: “the one who is without sin, cast the first stone”. 
 In order to not fight over debatable components in religions (e.g. the subject of baptism or Trinity or denomination) we will focus today solely on the beginning of the three book-religions and will try to find answers in Genesis – The first book of the Christian Bible, the first book of Moses and thus part of the Hebrew bible or Tanakh and also reference for many aspects of Islam.