A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Artificial Intelligence, will they have souls?

Western religions teach us that man was made in the image of God. With the coming realization of artificial intelligence, I wonder how the debate will go. Will it come down to can’t be manmade, or require it to have blood and breathe oxygen. Some will wonder if man has encroached on God’s domain, by creating life. This debate has already started in regards to technologies such as genetics, and gene therapy but a couple of areas. Unlike the current debate in western countries about cloning, and nanotechnology, Buddhists’ look to see if something will be beneficial, harmful or neutral upon application. They will weigh risks and rewards, not ideologies. Buddhists consider all life to be sacred, not just human life. We are part of the wheel of life, not separate from it. Buddhists are not elitists that place human life above all other. The Buddhist believes that all creatures try to make themselves better within the capabilities they have, gives the same value to a mosquito as to an elephant. If the day comes that we have self aware computers that pass the Turing test, and “all” other measures we place to determine sentient life, how will we react? Will simply say lets help these new beings be the best they can be, just like we aspire for ourselves? If we develop the technology to transfer a human conciousness to a machine, is the person still alive, if their biological body dies? These maybe questions all religions or faiths will have to answer.

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