I finished this right before Bible study tonight and was expecting a typical study that starts off with the usual half hour of talking and a few worship songs, then breaking out into smaller groups for some deep study questions on whatever the new study is going to be. (I promise this will get around to the process of writing this piece).
Well, it actually ended up being something completely new that I wasn’t too sure about when I walked in. We had spiritual discipline “stations,” for lack of a better word. One room was sectioned off for meditation on scripture, another for study, another for prayers of adoration and thanksgiving, and another for prayers of supplication.
When I was in the church library (which was the scripture meditation room for the night) I felt led to go back to my roots and examine how far I’ve come since first reading 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8. Some of you may or may not remember from last semester what the significance was when I first read it from the end of this blog post. But what I began to realize is that it’s not as much about what He’s done for me as I first thought— not that I was wrong before either because what He’s done is still true— but it’s more just about who He is.
And I think without realizing it, I was slowly coming to a place where I’ve begun to realize that, and 2048 A.D. is like a culmination of that realization that no matter what god, gods, or lack thereof that anyone else could believe in, there is no god that is as personal, gracious, wise, generous, and merciful. And when I say personal, I mean He met me when I was so broken and exhausted and tired of the cycle of relationship hopping and using myself and others just to try to normalize an abuse that was never meant to be a normal thing anyway, when I knew nothing but the pain that I’d caused myself and that others caused me (even though I blamed myself for that too at the time). He straight up slapped me across the face, pulled me back up on my feet, and dusted me off, pulling me into a big ol’ bear hug as He let me cry into His chest. I could feel again because of that moment of clarity.
So getting back to the process (and what all of that has to do with it), I wanted to capture some of that in this piece. While I don’t think AI will annihilate the human race, I think we will become enslaved to it as my old self was enslaved in the same sense to my old habits. I think many of us already have fallen into that trap, some without acknowledging it. I didn’t know quite how to put that into just 200-500 words, so I stuck to dialogue and a few details.
The details I included outside the dialogue intentionally highlight the humanity of Hinton though, and focus on a certain joy despite his regret for pioneering artificial intelligence. I have no idea if he knows this same inexplicable joy that God provides out of (sometimes literal) nothingness, but I could imagine that if he would give up a comfortable job to try and help people to learn about AI and how to protect from its potential hazards, some part of him does. Some part of him is seeing a pattern that we are being defined by the things we create, rather than the things we create being defined by us. Many churches and people do the same to God where they try to define Him when it’s actually Him who defines us because creation is defined by its Creator. We just get the joy and honor of reflecting that even just a tiny bit, even though many abuse that ability to create as I do not believe was Hinton’s intention, but there are certainly others that realize what AI’s brain-numbing superpowers could allow them to do.
So, I’m grateful for so much. Above all else I’m grateful for Jesus and His grace and mercy, but I’m also so grateful that He’s allowed my Thursday nights for the past two semesters to be filled with such beautiful people, I’m grateful that He made a way for this year at Kean to even be possible for me (that’s a story for class though if anyone wants to hear it because it was a literal miracle), and I’m just all around grateful.