The march of technology

Very recent news has reported the success of technology which has enabled a paralysed man to use his hands by thought-processes, bypassing his spinal cord.  This is an incredible achievement, marking an important milestone in the march of technology. No doubt, in the near future, many people who suffer debilitating accidents will benefit from this cutting edge science.

Just a few weeks ago, the news announced a similar breakthrough in technology – Google’s AlphaGo computer, which defeated Go’s world champion in a match consisting of the best of five games.  The number of possible moves is astronomical: there are literally more possible positions in Go than atoms in the universe, according the DeepMind’s team (the developers of AlphaGo).  It can be very difficult to determine who is winning, and many of the top human players rely on instinct.

It’s only because the computer, AlphaGo, has been programmed to rely on ‘deep neural networks’ which have the capacity to learn, that it has succeeded.  Its ‘machine learning’ tools enable it to teach itself and to think more like humans.  The researchers fed it a database of 30 million board configurations and subsequent plays by expert players, then the computer played against itself over and over again thus learning from experience to tell a better move from a poorer one.  One researcher said:

The way we've developed the system, it plays more like a human does

Back in October 2015, AlphaGo won against the European Go champion – an achievement that was not expected for years. Science magazine ran this article, by Adrian Cho:

Huge leap forward: Computer that mimics human brain beats professional at game of Go

Lee Se-dol, however, is considered to be the greatest Go player ever, and he has been defeated by AlphaGo.  Because the computer is programmed to learn and improve from its mistakes, every game makes it stronger than before. 

Man’s ability to construct a machine of such complexity and ability is truly amazing, and it is an indication of the incredible ingenuity God deposited within the human brain – something which sets man apart from the rest of creation. 

AlphaGo is seen as a celebration of man’s ability.  He has created a machine that can ‘think’ and ‘learn’ and can outwit the most intelligent humans.  Scientists and engineers are probably already well on the way with the next development – for they won’t stop now.   Google representatives (who own AlphaGo) remarked after the one defeat in the series of games against Lee Se-dol that the defeat was ‘very valuable’ for AlphaGo, as it identified a problem which they could now try to fix.

If we lived in a perfect world, scientific achievements in the realms of medicine and recreation would only be for our good.  But what is designed to be of benefit to mankind in our sin-filled world, often has a sinister side.  Machines that can win games are benign, and brains which are programmed to perform daily tasks by thinking about them are clearly amazing boons.  Consider however, that machines which ‘learn’ from their mistakes until they are infallible are potentially very dangerous.  Similarly, the potential for abuse by the ability to perform actions by godless people thinking about them is something which was once confined to the domain of science-fiction.  Not any more!

For more on this and on other aspects of Artificial Intelligence, see our page in the Transhumanism section. 


Thanks for this article. It is a salutary reminder of the dangers we could face with the development of artificial intelligence.

Post a Comment

Your comment will have to be approved by a site administrator before it is shown on the site so please be patient.

Latest News

View all

Illiberal liberals

23rd June 2017 6:28 PM

Perhaps the announcement by Tim Farron this week, that he realises his Christian faith is incompatible with the postmodern ideaology of the West is an indication of the illiberal attitude of modern society to anyone claiming to live a genuine and committed Christian life . . .

Revelation on Revelation

20th February 2017 3:52 PM

The book of Revelation has specific revelation for the end-time church, and a blessing is in store for all those who read it . . .

If Trump blesses Israel, he will be blessed

24th January 2017 3:25 PM

Only a few days after he was inaugurated, President Donald Trump’s pledge to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem was on the media agenda following a 30 minute call between President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. 

Israel in the news

3rd January 2017 11:55 AM

The United Nations Security Council’s recent adoption of Resolution 2334, which condemns Israeli settlements in the West Bank, has brought to our collective attention yet again the unique role assigned to Israel in world affairs . . . 

Post-referendum chaos

12th December 2016 11:06 AM

Perhaps most significantly, the reaction to the Brexit vote has exposed how undemocratic Britain is – a nation which prides itself on its democracy . . .

Getting rid of God

9th December 2016 11:01 AM

. . . until Jesus is crowned King of Kings and all knees bow to him, Satan will continue to pursue his interests in this world . . .

website designed and maintained by adept