During the period which Pope Francis has been the father of Christianity, he has worked extremely hard to bring back people back to the Catholic Church. He did not judge the LGBT people, tried to reunite divorced couples, as well as extended priests’ action of forgiving abortion. But all the actions of Pope Francis have not reached a wider audience for which it was intended to except only once when he declared that Christianity would baptize Martians.
“If—for example—tomorrow an expedition of Martians came … and one says, ‘but I want to be baptized!’ What would happen?” Pope Francis asked. “When the Lord shows us the way, who are we to say, ‘No, Lord, it is not prudent! No, let’s do it this way.’”
These actions though playful in nature raised several vital questions. Is it time for Christianity to acknowledge the presence of a more intelligent form of life? Even many the alien species which might exist? Though the presence of such species might be far from reality but one form of superior beings might come into existence. These are artificial intelligence (AI), super computers as well as hyper-intelligent machines.
For the past couple of decades the field of artificial intelligence is growing at a rapid pace. Now days in the technically driven world computers have the ability to fly airplanes, interpret human and animal X-rays as well assort and analyze forensic evidence. There are also various algorithms which can paint human portraits as well as compose musical symphonies like Mozart. Google is on the verge of publishing “artificial moral reasoning” which can enable driverless cars to make wise decisions to avoid road accidents.
The author of the book The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future and also the co-founder of the famous wired magazine, Kevin Kelly said,“AI is already here, it’s real, it’s quickening. I think the formula for the next 10,000 start-ups is to take something that already exists and add AI to it.”
The emergence of the non-human robots who have inbuilt autonomous artificial intelligence would definitely disrupt religion, in a way similar to many other fields, on a large scale. “If humans were to create free-willed beings,” says Kelly, who identifies himself as a Christian and was raised from childhood in a catholic environment, “absolutely every single aspect of traditional theology would be challenged and have to be reinterpreted in some capacity.”
Though AI is better for our future, most of the scholars are concerned about the era when machines would have rational thinking power—they would be consciousness, have proper emotion sand at the same time be self-aware. “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race,” Stephen Hawking stated in an interview given to BBC in 2014 “Once humans develop artificial intelligence, it would take off on its own, and redesign itself at an ever-increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete and would be superseded.”
“I don’t see Christ’s redemption limited to human beings,” Christopher Benek, who is a popular associate pastor at the Providence Presbyterian Church, located in the state of Florida having degrees from the Princeton Theological Seminary, stated in an interaction with Gizmodo in 2015. “It’s redemption of all of creation, even AI. If AI is autonomous, then we should encourage it to participate in Christ’s redemptive purposes in the world.”