The Robots Are Here

I went to Will Rogers High School for an after-school meeting today. As I approached the receptionist’s desk, I noticed a teacher walking his big black and yellow dog without a leash down the main hall. The dog was prancing around all curious about everything but stayed out of trouble. I visited with the receptionist who I’ve known now for six years. I made it to my meeting room and found the dog was entertaining those who came early. 

The dog was a robot. You may have seen pictures of these robot dogs used by scientists and police in other states. This one was on loan to the school for a few days from the University of Tulsa. I asked if the dog could take some papers out of my hand. Of course it could. It walked over to me, sized up the situation, opened its mouth, and took the papers from my hand. I moved away and it followed me and returned my papers without a wrinkle or a tooth mark. The robots are here, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is in the news.

Fear not, we have had one hundred years of science fiction books and movies preparing us for life with robots possessing more knowledge than we could ever fathom. So I did about two and a half hours of research last week on the current state of AI, leaving me totally prepared to face the future. I listened to discussions about AI. I watched a person build an app for his computer using step by step AI. That was tedious, even for him. AI is only as good as the person who uses it. The difference with today’s AI is the speed with which it makes its calculations and the vastness of its information base. 

The Hollywood writers are on strike in part because AI can use any writer’s creations, without credit or compensation. Teachers are worried that students will just let AI write their essays and research papers, effectively cheating their way through school. Today’s AI is another disruptive force for society to deal with. All advances in any technology are disruptive. All have been misused and have the potential to hurt people, like nuclear energy or your cellphone. AI will reveal the true character of a person. Will you be honest, or will you cheat? Will you be authentic, or will you be an imposter? AI is not the issue. Our sinfulness is.

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Character matters. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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