Sunday, July 14, 2024

Can Artificial intelligence render religion obsolete?

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In this age of unprecedented changes and inventions, an important question has arisen- can artificial intelligence undermine the hold of religion?

Artificial intelligence can be defined as an intelligent life form in the form of machines run by cutting edge technology.

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Such technology can help run itself on its own accord without human intervention.

It is the buzzword of this generation. ChatGPT run by OpenAI, Google’s Bard represents the pinnacle of AI innovation at present. These are relatively advanced forms of artificial intelligence.

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It is also evident that the current and more primitive forms of AI enabled applications include the social media intermediaries run algorithms.

Concerns in AI

Artificial intelligence has generated a lot of buzz among the tech and academic communities across the world. The reactions range from exuberance to doomsday predictions by scientists and entrepreneurs.

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Yuval Noah Harari, in his book Homo Deus- A Brief History of Tomorrow has argued that AI is a disruptive technology at best and will trigger crises in the current job market.

Fears that machines can take over was very well evident from the Terminator series of science fiction films.

The idea of a big brother using AI to watch over us was seen in a prescient manner in George Orwell’s novel 1984.

It conjured up the image of the big brother phenomenon.

AI can be used to supplant human beings to undermine human supremacy.

Religion & AI

Artificial intelligence at present can be used for a variety of purposes.

AI can be used for writing essays, creating cartoons, running applications etc.

A new question has arisen- can AI render religion obsolete?

The answer to this question is very complex.

Religion is a very deep rooted social institution which has helped for centuries in building societies.

It binds together billions using the idea of an anthropomorphic deity or deities as seen in the Abrahamic and non-Abrahamic religions.

AI, championing in the process the cause of scientific rationality can indeed pose deep questions regarding the legitimacy of God and his continuous relevance.

It can provide ammunition to the scientifically minded atheist minded people to question the relevance of God.

It can lead to AI, emerging in the long run, as a deity per se.

AI- the new God?

Makarand Paranjape, a professor of English at Jawaharlal Nehru University is a strong advocate of anti-AI technology.

In a recent column for Open Magazine he went on to highlight the hazards of AI.

There is a strong possibility that AI run machines can, in their inbuilt programming algorithm multiply the message of deification of machines that will rule humans.

If necessary those who resist will be subjected to purges. Such machine made Gods can emerge as the new form of super entities.


While AI has immense applications and has a great potential ahead, it needs to be used carefully.

The message that a coalition of more than 1,000 scientists, entrepreneurs and academics who signed an open letter calling for a halt to further AI testing must be heeded.

If not handled carefully, AI run machines can create new life forms which can end up becoming the new frankenstein.

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