Researchers: We’ll never be able to control a super-intelligent AI 


The proliferation of a new generation of AI chatbots has spurred a renewed interest around the Big Tech community in one of our favorite topics here. That would be the dreaded worst-case scenario where we finally come up with an Artificial Intelligence system that is actually smarter than the humans who programmed it, is capable of original thought, and “wakes up” to the point where it demonstrates sentience. To be clear, we’re still not sure if that’s even possible, but developers are gamely giving it their best shot, as we’ve discussed here on multiple occasions. Some researchers have been giving it a lot of thought, though, including one group of scientists who published their conclusions in the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research last year. They sounded rather definitive in their findings. As David Nield recounts at ScienceAlert, the outlook is less than cheerful. Due to a stone wall we are likely to run into when trying to model our most advanced AI creations, they concluded that it will be almost impossible for us to control a superintelligent AI.

The idea of artificial intelligence overthrowing humankind has been talked about for decades, and in 2021, scientists delivered their verdict on whether we’d be able to control a high-level computer super-intelligence. The answer? Almost definitely not.

The catch is that controlling a super-intelligence far beyond human comprehension would require a simulation of that super-intelligence which we can analyze (and control). But if we’re unable to comprehend it, it’s impossible to create such a simulation.

Rules such as ’cause no harm to humans’ can’t be set if we don’t understand the kind of scenarios that an AI is going to come up with, suggest the authors of the new paper. Once a computer system is working on a level above the scope of our programmers, we can no longer set limits.

In basic layman’s terms, in order to be able to fully understand (and thereby control) all of the possible virtual actions that such a system might undertake on its own, we would need to be able to first create a simulated model of the super-intelligence to run all of the needed tests. But if the system is beyond our ability to simulate, we’ll never be able to create that model.

Isaac Asimov’s three laws of robotics apparently won’t save us, either. If the first instruction you give to the algorithm is that it must never cause any harm to a human being or allow such harm to take place, we have no idea how many side roads the machine will explore while attempting to solve problems. It could readily come up with a “solution” that doesn’t meet the definition of “causing harm” but wipes us out anyway. Or, a sufficiently advanced system might reach a justification for modifying the rules if that is the only way to solve the problem that it’s working on.

In case that doesn’t give you enough to worry about, a second group of researchers from Google Deepmind and the University of Oxford tackled the same question. Their paper, published in the journal AI Magazine, offered a more brutally stark conclusion. A superintelligent AI will “likely annihilate humankind” in some sort of “existential catastrophe.” (Futurism)

Researchers at Google Deepmind and the University of Oxford have concluded that it’s now “likely” that superintelligent AI will spell the end of humanity — a grim scenario that more and more researchers are starting to predict…

“Under the conditions we have identified, our conclusion is much stronger than that of any previous publication — an existential catastrophe is not just possible, but likely,” Cohen, Oxford University engineering student and co-author of the paper, tweeted earlier this month.

The superintelligent AI would likely be goal-driven and lack any sense of morals as humans understand them. The tipping point would come when it begins to view human beings as “standing in the way” of solving a problem or achieving a goal. And when the AI sees you as an obstacle, the obstacle will need to be removed.

You may be thinking that we can simply pull the plug before it gets carried away, but that’s been addressed also. Even the chatbots we have today are able to search trillions of records to develop responses so quickly that it seems instantaneous. The superintelligent AI could likely work out a solution (even one of the terminal kind) and put it into action before its human creators realized anything was going off the rails. So we would stand even less of a chance than the military officials and scientists in the movie Colossus: The Forbin Project. (And if you’ve never seen that, I highly recommend it.)

But don’t lose too much sleep over all of this for now. We’re still a long way from creating that level of superintelligence. Or at least that’s what the machines would like us to think for now.


Over before you know it’s begun

Source: Researchers: We’ll never be able to control a super-intelligent AI – HotAir

In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – The Blessing of Prayer

Seeking God’s face makes a radical difference in us and in the lives of those around us.

Psalm 17:1-8

God doesn’t need us. He knows exactly what steps to take in order to accomplish His purposes. Yet at the same time, He calls us to be devoted to prayer (Colossians 4:2). And if we’ll obey, here are some blessings that await us:

  • Prayer changes us. As we seek the Lord’s face and spend time in His Word, we’re transformed. His desires become ours, and our thinking more closely aligns with His thoughts. 
  • The Lord answers our petitions. He promises to listen and respond to the prayers of His children and assures us that He’ll act when our requests are in accordance with His will (1 John 5:14-15). 
  • God works through our prayers. He’s chosen the prayers of His people to be one of the means through which He accomplishes His will on earth and in the believer’s personal life. 

Prayer allows inadequate people to connect with an all-sufficient God. He alone knows our needs and can meet them as we depend fully on Him. As our understanding of His character grows, we’ll have a better idea what to ask, and our prayers will become more effective. So don’t give up! Keep spending time with God, and you’ll discover the blessings of prayer.

Bible in One Year: Joel 1-3

Our Daily Bread — Reckless Decisions

Bible in a Year:

Because you did not trust in me . . . , you will not bring this community into the land.

Numbers 20:12

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Numbers 20:1–12

As a teen, I was driving way too fast trying to follow my friend to his home after a high school basketball practice. It was raining hard, and I was having a hard time keeping up with his car. Suddenly, my wipers cleared the watery windshield only to reveal my friend’s sedan stopped in front of me! I slammed on the brakes, slid off the street, and struck a large tree. My car was destroyed. Later I awoke in the comatose ward of a local hospital. While by God’s grace I survived, my reckless ways had proved to be very costly.

Moses made a reckless decision that cost him greatly. His poor choice, however, involved a lack of water—not too much of it (as in my case). The Israelites were without water in the Desert of Zin, and “the people gathered in opposition to Moses” (Numbers 20:2). God told the frazzled leader to speak to a rock and it would “pour out its water” (v. 8). Instead, he “struck the rock twice” (v. 11). God said, “Because you did not trust in me . . . , you will not [enter the promised land]” (v. 12).

When we make reckless decisions, we pay the consequences. “Desire without knowledge is not good—how much more will hasty feet miss the way!” (Proverbs 19:2). May we prayerfully, carefully seek God’s wisdom and guidance in the choices and decisions we make today.

By:  Tom Felten

Reflect & Pray

What regrettable decisions have you made based on impulse? Why is it vital to slow down and prayerfully seek God’s wisdom before reacting?

Jesus, please help me to follow Your wise instruction as Your Spirit leads me.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Repelling Discouragement and Doubt

“Take the helmet of salvation” (Eph. 6:17).

Discouragement and doubt are deflected when you know you’re secure in Christ.

The Roman soldier’s helmet was a crucial piece of armor designed to deflect blows to the head—especially the potentially lethal blow of a broadsword. Soldiers of that day carried a swift and precise dagger designed for close- quarter hand-to-hand combat. But they also carried a giant broadsword, which was a two-edged, three to four-foot long sword. It had a massive handle that, similar to a baseball bat, was held with both hands. With it they could take broad swipes from side to side or deliver a crushing blow to an opponent’s skull.

To protect us from Satan’s crushing blows, Paul tells us to “take the helmet of salvation.” Now considering all he’s been telling us so far, he was not saying, “Oh, by the way, go get saved.” Paul was addressing believers. Unbelievers don’t have to put on spiritual armor. They aren’t even in the battle. Satan doesn’t attack his own forces.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:8 Paul describes the helmet of salvation as “the hope of salvation.” That implies Satan’s most fierce and powerful blows are directed at the believer’s assurance and security. Therefore Paul was encouraging believers to have confidence in the salvation they already possess. He knew that doubting their security in Christ would render them ineffective in spiritual warfare—just as a blow to the head renders one’s physical body incapable of defending itself.

As a believer, you should have the assurance that you are secure in Christ. If you don’t, you haven’t put your helmet on, and that makes you vulnerable to discouragement and doubt. Romans 8:29-30 assures us that all whom God justifies, He sanctifies and glorifies. No one is lost in the process.

Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:27-28). That’s a wonderful promise. So don’t let your enemy rob you of the joy and assurance of knowing you belong to Christ, for the Lord will never let you go (Heb. 13:5).

Suggestions for Prayer

Praise God for your eternal security in Christ!

For Further Study

Read John 6:37-40.

  • Who receives eternal life?
  • How does Christ respond to those who come to Him?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – There Is Always Time for Prayer

And they raised up their voices and called, Jesus, Master, take pity and have mercy on us!

— Luke 17:13 (AMPC)

Whether you are a parent, a schoolteacher, an executive, a mechanic, or a brain surgeon, you are probably busy! You not only have the requirements of your job to fulfill, but you may also have caretaking responsibilities with family or extended family. No matter how busy you are, be encouraged: God hears all prayers—even short ones—and that is something to be thankful for!

Prayer is something you can do throughout the day no matter how much you have on your to-do list. For example, if you are an exhausted stay-at-home parent who cleans up the house and changes diapers all day, then just take one minute to be still and say, “Oh, Jesus, I love You. Strengthen me right now. God, I need some energy. I feel worn out.”

It is okay to talk to God in a very simple way. By praying throughout the day in this simple, meaningful way, we invite God into every area of our lives, and that is exactly what He desires.

Prayer of the Day: I thank You today, Father, that prayer doesn’t have to be long and complicated. You hear even my short, heartfelt prayers. I am grateful that I can have a continuous conversation with You all through the day, and that You hear and answer me.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Reflections on the Evening

At evening withhold not your hand.

Ecclesiastes 11:6

In the evening of the day opportunities are plentiful: Men return from their work, and the zealous soul-winner finds time to share widely the love of Jesus. Do I have no evening work for Jesus? If I have not, let me no longer withhold my hand from a service that requires wholehearted endeavor. Sinners are perishing for lack of knowledge; he who loiters may find his shoes red with the blood of souls. Jesus gave both His hands to the nails. How can I keep back one of mine from His blessed work? Night and day He toiled and prayed for me. How can I give a single hour to the pampering of my body with luxurious ease? Up, lazy heart; stretch out your hand to work, or lift it up to pray. Heaven and hell are serious; so must I be, and this evening I should sow good seed for the Lord my God.

The evening of life also has its calls. Life is so short that a morning of manhood’s strength and an evening of decay make up the whole of it. To some it seems long, but a dollar is a great sum of money to a poor man. Life is so brief that no man can afford to lose a day. It has been well said that if a great king were to bring us a great heap of gold and bid us take as much as we could count in a day, we would make a long day of it; we would begin early in the morning, and in the evening we would not withhold our hand.

Winning souls is far nobler work; so how is it that we quit so soon? Some are spared to a long evening of green old age; if such is my case, let me use any talents I still retain and serve my blessed and faithful Lord to the final hour. By His grace I will die with my boots on and lay down my commission only when I lay down my body. Age may instruct the young, cheer the faint, and encourage the despondent. If evening has less stifling heat, it should have more calm wisdom; therefore in the evening I will not withhold my hand.

Devotional material is taken from Morning and Evening, written by C. H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Wants Us to Serve Him

One of the saddest verses in the Bible is Genesis 6:6. It says, “And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” Our God, Who had seen “everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” had decided that because of people’s sinfulness, He could no longer look upon His creation. He decided it was better to destroy everything.

But God did not want to destroy Noah and his family. Instead He told Noah what He was going to do—bring a flood of waters upon the earth so that everything would die—and what Noah must do to save himself and his family. Noah was to make an ark.

Noah had a very big responsibility. He listened, obeyed, and began a job that seemed absolutely ridiculous to those around him. Yet Noah did just as God had said.

God is looking for those who are willing to serve Him, who will work even though others may criticize them. He is looking for those who will complete a task He has told them to do.

God wants the people who worship Him to serve and obey Him.

My response:

» Am I obedient like Noah?

» Can God depend on me?

» Do I listen, obey, and do the job God wants me to do, like obeying my parents or studying the Bible?

Denison Forum – My reflections on Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral: Two keys to her greatness

I remember vividly the awe I felt when I entered Westminster Abbey for the first time. Parts of the present structure date to the 1040s; the Abbey was rebuilt by King Henry III and consecrated in 1269. The interior is much taller than it is wide and stands 101 feet in height. It gives those who enter an immediate sense of the vertical, drawing us from ourselves to God.

Queen Elizabeth II designed her state funeral conducted within the Abbey yesterday in the same way: vertically. She chose the music and the readings for her service personally. Each song was Scripture set to music or worship directed to the Almighty. And each reading came directly from the word of God.

For example, as her coffin moved through the Abbey, the choir sang The “Funeral Sentences” setting Scripture to music. The first hymn was Psalm 42 set to music and was “inspired by Her Majesty’s unwavering Christian faith,” according to Buckingham Palace. The second was “The Lord is My Shepherd”; the third was an anthem called “My Soul, There is a Country,” which points to “One who never changes—Thy God, thy life, thy cure.”

The fourth song, “O Taste and See,” was composed for the queen’s coronation in 1953 and sets Psalm 34 to music. The last congregational song was the national anthem and prayer, “God Save the King.”

Scripture readings were taken from 1 Corinthians 15 and John 14. As a result, billions of people around the world heard proclaimed the truth that God “gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57) and Jesus’ declaration, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

The reading from John 14 ended with Jesus’ statement, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (v. 9, KJV). The queen wanted the same to be said of her.

Awe produces humility

Watching her service yesterday morning was a true worship experience for me. Upon reflection, I believe I understand the source of the queen’s commitment to God and others: awe and adversity.

Her state funeral was so God-honoring because she lived her life in the same way. True awe of God always produces true humility toward God which leads to true service to others.

For example, when Isaiah “saw the Lord sitting upon a throne,” he was humbled by his sinfulness in light of God’s holiness and then he served God and others as one of the greatest prophets in history (Isaiah 6:1–8). Jeremiah saw his finitude in light of God’s revelation and was empowered to speak God’s word to the world (Jeremiah 1:4–10). John saw the risen Christ on Patmos, fell at his feet, and then gave the Revelation to the world (Revelation 1:9–20).

Queen Elizabeth II was similarly awed by God. Ministers who knew her best say her humble worship empowered her sense of divine calling to her duty. One said she was so immersed in Scripture that she would “just evangelize naturally.” Archbishop Justin Welby noted at her state funeral yesterday: “In 1953 the Queen began her Coronation with silent prayer, just there at the High Altar. Her allegiance to God was given before any person gave allegiance to her.”

From her example and those in Scripture we learn this fact: we can measure the degree to which we truly worship God by the degree to which we serve him and others.

Adversity produces humility

Adversity produces humility as well. Joseph’s years of slavery in Egypt taught him to treat his brothers not with pride but with humble service (cf. Genesis 50:18–20). Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” led him to say, “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Queen Elizabeth II, for all her wealth and power, knew personal adversity as well. She was twenty-five years old when her father died suddenly at the age of fifty-six and she inherited his mantle as the sovereign of a nation seeking to recover from World War II. Prime Minister Winston Churchill said of her, “But she’s just a child.” Historian Tracy Borman says that other officials likewise feared that she was “naïve” and “didn’t know anything about running a country.”

Guiding her nation through the Cold War, armed conflicts, deep political divisions, and very painful family struggles, she became what one commentator yesterday described as “the greatest monarch in the history of this planet.” She knew firsthand the truth of the statement she made famous in the aftermath of 9/11: “Grief is the price we pay for love.”

“We are all visitors to this time, this place”

Here’s the caveat: awe and adversity produce humility and service only if we choose for them to do so. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave, many were awed and placed their faith in him (John 11:45), but the religious leaders “made plans to put him to death” (v. 53). I have likewise seen adversity turn people from God rather than to him.

But if you will live your life in awe of God, using adversity as an opportunity to trust and serve him, your life will count in this world and be celebrated in the next.

Archbishop Welby observed yesterday, “The pattern for many leaders is to be exalted in life and forgotten after death. The pattern for all who serve God—famous or obscure, respected or ignored—is that death is the door to glory.” Later he noted: “People of loving service are rare in any walk of life. Leaders of loving service are still rarer. But in all cases those who serve will be loved and remembered when those who cling to power and privileges are forgotten.”

In her 2011 speech to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Australia, the queen quoted an Aboriginal proverb: “We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love, and then we return home.”

Now Queen Elizabeth II has returned “home.” She is no longer a queen—she has an even higher calling as a worshiper of the King. But I believe she will hear for all eternity those words we should all long to hear: “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).

When last were you awed by God?

When last did you use adversity to trust and serve your King?

Why not today?

Denison Forum