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Frankenstein and Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a constant presence in the news cycle ever since the release of ChatGPT. The latest Hollywood strike is centered on concerns that, soon enough, actors will be replaced by digital puppets of themselves and writers by thinking machines that are optimized to prey upon the tropes that inspire human experience. [1]

Even worse, if such a thing begins to develop human emotions and experiences, what implications will that have for its role in human society? [2] Commentators are simultaneously wrestling with whether AI will be made into something either all too human or not quite human enough. But what are the dangers of making AI in Man’s image?

As Christians, we know that God made us in His own image; that much is attested to in Genesis 1:26, which says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’” The image of God, or imago Dei, is regarded as a sacred echo of the perfection that once abided in the Garden of Eden.

Conventional wisdom teaches that Man should not attempt to act as God. This basic axiom is the subject of many fables and stories told throughout human history, whether it is Icarus flying too close to the sun or the failure of the Tower of Babel. One of the most famous stories to tell this tale is Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, renowned worldwide as a harrowing cautionary tale of the dangers of man playing God. Though the book has been adapted and re-adapted into over 80 on-screen versions, the Hammer Horror film The Curse of Frankenstein stands out as one of the only versions highlighting the depravity of both the Monster and Dr. Frankenstein himself. Unlike the many pathos-heavy interpretations of Shelley’s story, this version takes an unflinching look at the unique evils perpetrated both by Dr. Frankenstein in his murderous attempts to subvert the divine order and in the Monster’s bestial acts of violence.

The ultimate moral of the movie is that God did not make Man to be God, lest what proceeded from Mankind manifest the same Fallen nature that has led to the present evils of this world.

Although many researchers, like Nir Eisikovits, have argued that AI will never truly be sentient, it nonetheless remains a threat to the sacred nature of the imago Dei due to its role and uses as a perceived replacement for human beings. [4] While this seems far-fetched, one can already see evidence of the phenomenon as actors like Peter Cushing are being recreated decades after their death to serve as digital puppets at the disposal of Disney and the Star Wars franchise. [3] There is already talk of doing the same thing with the image of George Michael. [5]

The modern-day Dr. Frankenstein does not resurrect corpses stolen and pieced together from graveyards; instead, he codes and creates artificial intelligence, which is then regarded as a valid replacement for God’s own organic life. This is not to accuse all those who have worked to develop AI of harboring devilish motives. Only to say that, like Dr. Frankenstein, those who seek to harness the power of AI to replace the humanity of Mankind will be doing so at their own peril.

Those of us who are educated on the truth of our own depravity and dependence on God cannot turn our backs on the reality that even though AI can be an incredible tool, it also holds dangerous potential as a conduit for Mankind’s fallen nature and as a means of defacing the image of God which is reflected in our creation.

As Jeremiah 10:6 declaratively states, “No one is like you, Lord; you are great, and your name is mighty in power.”Those who seek to harness the power of AI would do well to remember that.

Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.


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