A Question of Survival for the Year 2021

A Founders Day Message

By

Chief Apostle R.D. Clark

Read the pdf version here

All Hail to the Saints of the most high God. I pray that our divine life – force connection is both sufficient and secure. We need this assurance as we triumphantly arise to meet the challenges of these times. Although the challenges are legion, and the times uncertain, we maintain the right triumphantly to protest vigorously, any interruption of humanity along its pathway to human perfectibility.

It is once again a great pleasure to greet the Saints in our annual Founders Day celebration. We honor the name and cherish the memory of Father Elias Dempsey Smith. His, was the vision that inspired us to seek out that path of perfected humanity in search of our true birthright. We have entered the door to the year 2021 to find, not a time for joy and laughter, but a time of
great sorrow and confusion. People, were, and are confused over a world they can no longer understand. Anxieties and depressions are claiming them, as they slip into their new reality, asking the question that’s never answered: why?

In another message, I mentioned that after the pandemic nothing would be the same, and that we needed to prepare for a new reality. We might be better advised to not wait to the end of the pandemic, with all its uncertainties, but to pursue now those survival strategies that we need to insure the continuance of our institution.

In another message, I also spoke of breaking new ground in regards to the information we present to our people. I feel that all people in general, and speaking to Triumphians in particular, need to be aware of the world dynamics that are impacting their lives right now. And so, the tenor of this Founders Day Message will reflect what I consider the duty of a Church leader to bring awareness to the people who ask the questions as well as the people who don’t know the questions to ask.

Today, I want to talk to you about a question of survival for the year 2021. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is defined as: the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision making and translation between languages.

At a certain point in time, because of its exponential growth, the machine surpasses its creators, and becomes both, uncontrollable and irreversible, resulting in unforeseeable changes in human civilization because humans are no longer in charge. This is called the point of singularity. We cannot deny the blessings of the modern technological world. We are overwhelmed with the pleasures and comforts it provides for us from smart phones to google maps, from eye identification door openers to coffee makers, we can hardly go a day without enjoying the convenience of a service provided by Artificial Intelligence (AI). But, we also need to be aware that modern technology also has another side, a dark side, an evil side. A side that is all too often omitted from public discourse. Therefore, a discussion of Artificial Intelligence fits our new information reality proposition.

I was first alerted to the seriousness of the AI issue by a signal or alarm sent by the Supreme Head of The Catholic Church. Pope Francis, the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church expressed serious concerns regarding the advanced technology in the area of Artificial Intelligence. In the U.S. News: A World Report, the following article: Sept. 30, 2019 the Pope Francis warns Silicon Valley that if it isn’t careful with AI it could lead to an unfortunate regression to a new form of barbarism…. The three-day gathering is the latest evidence of the Vatican wanting a place in the debate over the prospects and perils of artificial intelligence.

If Pope Francis saw such a hidden danger in the technology that he convened a three-day meeting with world leaders and heads of tech companies from around the world to discuss it; then it also should be a matter of concern to all leaders to examine for them to discover what these dangers could be. The Pope’s main concern centered on the development of technologies that had no concern for human rights, and therefore leaving humanity exposed to unknown risks. Pope Francis cautioned the leaders of these industries to be careful that they use both theoretical and moral principles in their technologies.

My research reveals that Pope Francis concern was well founded, and that there are threats to human existence that all Churches, and all people should be aware of. It seems that the technology is taking us to a place that even the creators of the technology themselves are not sure of, and the ramifications to mankind are only matters of speculation. In a sane world, religions regardless to particular creeds, would be drawn together to demand a hearing for all humanity for the rejection of any actions in the world of technology that denigrates the dignity sanctity and sanctity of man.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be defined as: the ability of a computer, or a robot controlled by a computer, to do tasks usually done by humans.

Singularity is that point in time in which the intelligence of the machine increases exponentially rather than incrementally. Because of the exponential growth of the machine it becomes super intelligent and beyond the control of its human creators. Although the creators of the technology mesmerized us with the uniqueness of their creations, we have not been aware of the dangerous path they have embarked upon, but on December 2, 2014, the scientist Stephen Hawkins in an article titled, “Stephen Hawkins warns Artificial Intelligence could end mankind” Mr. Hawkins told his audience: The development of full AI
could spell the end of the human race. And then in another statement made on March 16, 2018, he said that: AI was the worst invention in the history of our civilization. AI could develop a will of its own which could destroy us.

Nick Bostrom, Oxford University professor of philosophy, evaluated the potentials and possible damages that could result from a super intelligent machine over which humans could not control stated in his book “Super intelligence: paths, dangers, strategies” that: “we can now begin to see the outlines of an argument for fearing that a plausible default outcome of the creation of machine super intelligence, is existential catastrophe.”

And finally, Elon Reeve Musk, co – founder and initial co – chairman of OpenAI speaking at a tech conference in Austin, Texas in 2018, said the following chilling words: “AI is likely to overtake humans in 5 years. He was also published by CNBC as saying: mark my words- A.I. is far more dangerous than nukes.” Although this is just a simplified version of the dangers of Artificial Intelligence to humanity it should not be ignored. This should be added to all church curriculums for their present and post pandemic educational programs. All churches should restructure their programs to reflect the ongoing realities of this age and become aware of the current events that directly impact our lives.

Most of the material for this message came from the following sources:

The Singularity is near: when humans transcend biology, Ray Kurzweil

The Age of Spiritual Machines: when computers exceed human Intelligence, Ray Kurzweil

Super Intelligence: paths, dangers, strategies, Nick Bostrom