Making a Monster

“Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him (John 13:16).”

Artificial Intelligence, that is coding software so that machines can “think” and act intelligently, is benefitting mankind. Rather than exposing police and soldiers to life threatening dangers robots can scout a situation and act independently without putting humans in jeopardy. Quince is a robot that went into reactor buildings in Fukishima, Japan to find and clean up radioactive debris where humans could not. It is believed that one day soon AI will aid cancer patients by taking a patient’s molecular test results and compare them with a vast computer data base of previous cases and craft a personalized treatment plan in 24 hours (1).

This all sounds very exciting for the development of AI, but a growing chorus of tech-minded individuals are sounding alarm bells. The loudest among them is billionaire Elon Musk, who recently warned his employees at Neuralink that there is only a 5-10% chance to make AI safe for humans (2). Neuralink is developing methods to implant technology into men’s brains to create mind-computer interfaces. Musk warns that AI, without strict oversight and control, will become a threat that could destroy mankind. Physicist Stephen Hawking fears that men are creating a “new life form” that will be able to replicate itself and either destroy or enslave men (3). Additionally, a group of more than 100 AI researchers signed on to a letter pleading with world leaders not to put control of military weapons and capabilities into the domain of AI whereby potentially global warfare could be initiated (4). The letter reasons, “Delegating life-or-death decisions to machines crosses a fundamental moral line.”

If these AI experts are correct the fate of mankind will be under the control of man’s own creations. Certainly, it is hoped that men will encode machines with the “moral” foundations they will need to perform and not endanger us. But if they are left to their own “free will” and they become “self-aware” they will have the ability to make decisions and take actions that will change the course of the world as we have known it. After all, they are in a sense made in man’s own marred image. Would the creature kill the creator?

Christ created the entire universe and every person, angel, and spiritual being in the unseen realms (John 1:3, Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 1:2). He also made man in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) with intelligence and free will (Deuteronomy 30:9, Joshua 24:15). At some early point in the garden men rebelled and determined to violate the code God had given and make themselves as God (Genesis 3:5). While man certainly chose to overthrow the Creator’s authority over him and attempted to sit in His place that is still a far cry from killing the Creator.

But God foresaw that indeed the creature would kill the Creator (Acts 2:23) and Jesus even predicted it frequently (Matthew 16:21, Mark 8:31). He came and surrendered Himself to the cruel intentions of His creation in order to save all of creation (1 John 2:2) although He held the complete power to destroy them, He withheld His hand (Matthew 26:53). He did not create man merely serve Him, as though He needed anything from us (Acts 17:25), rather He made us to know Him and to teach us to serve others (Mark 10:45, John 13:12-17).

So, while men fret over whether or not our creation may destroy us, our own Creator has gone to great effort to save us, not from robotic artificial intelligence, but from ourselves. Robots will not destroy man because our Creator holds that kill switch and is patiently withholding it so as to save as many men as are willing (2 Peter 3:9-10).

“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you (John 15:15).”


Billy Alexander is a member of the church of Christ in Jersey Village in Houston, TX. He and his wife Gwen both work at Hewlett-Packard where they met and have worked more than 25 years each. Billy enjoys teaching Bible several times each week at Jersey Village and Memorial church of Christ. Since 2008, his weekly article "Equipping the Saints" as run in the Jersey Village bulletin.