Sunday, March 24, 2024

Artificial Intelligence (AI): " can help solve some of the complex social issues facing the 21st century such as extreme poverty."

AI: Political Economy and Theological Discourse for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)
By Odomaro Mubangizi, SJ (PhD)

Currently there is much talk about Artificial Intelligence (AI), with regard to its disruptive nature. There is legitimate fear that many people will lose jobs to more sophisticated robots that will be more effective and less expensive in doing tasks that were hitherto an exclusive reserve of humans. However, some more optimistic enthusiasts of digital technology are seeing great promise in AI and consider it the best thing to ever happen in the history of technological innovation. Clearly AI has ushered in a new paradigm that will have unprecedented impact on political economy and theological discourse.  If machines can be taught the way we teach human beings, this innovation will raise serious questions about the interaction between machines and human beings, and consequently pose theological and ethical issues.  

  • Can a humanoid robot that makes decisions and “thinks” be accorded rights and responsibilities? 
  • If a humanoid robot does harm to people, can it be held liable?
  • If a machine can perform intelligent tasks better than human beings, how will this affect theological anthropology? 
This paper will attempt to address these issues from a political economic and theological perspective, and from the perspective of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and African cosmology.  I will argue that African cosmology and metaphysics that have some similarities with Teilhard de Chardin’s concepts of cosmic Christ and complexity consciousness, are better theoretical frameworks for gaining a deeper understanding of AI.  

Rather than get alarmed about AI, if well understood, it can help solve some of the complex social issues facing the 21st century such as extreme poverty

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