Masters or Slaves?
AI and the Future of Humanity
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Paperback / softback
Publisher: Inter-Varsity Press
Number of Pages: 240
Width: 13.8 cm
Height: 21.6 cm
For most people Artificial Intelligence is the dream of sci-fi writers or the scaremongering of popular authors who suggest AI will soon surpass human intelligence. The rapid increase in computer power coupled with the availability of vast amounts of personal data has resulted in the widespread deployment of AI around the world. This significant uptake of current technology across a large range of industry and commerce, as well as by public institutions and healthcare, has created a range of ethical dilemmas. These include data privacy and freedom, the influence of AI on our personhood through to the use of human-like digital agents, the assignment of moral agency to self-drive vehicles, and the impact on work. Our response to these ethical issues will determine whether we become slaves to or masters of this technology. Masters or Slaves? lays a theological and ethical foundation for our response by considering what the Bible teaches about our being made in God’s image, moral responsibility, the dignity of work, and idolatry. A framework for evaluating the impact of AI is proposed, starting with a taxonomy of applications reflecting different influences and challenges to humanness. A virtue approach is used for determining our responses, as individuals and as a society. The book concludes with a number of propositions as a ‘Christian manifesto’ for AI.
This book shines brightly in the constellation of books on the subject. Written by an expert, it is historically situated, technologically informed, well-modulated in tone, coherent in argument, theological in orientation, and judicious in illustrations. More than a book of conclusions, its design and structure model the best in the art of robust critique while offering possible ways to consider the appropriate deployment of Artificial Intelligence. * Bruce A. Little, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, USA. * This is a book that needed to be written. We are surrounded by technologies which are new and ever changing. They impinge on almost every area of our lives - from work to leisure, from personal freedom to self-image. And they are not neutral. How do they affect us as human beings made in the image of God? How might AI have a negative impact on authentic relationships? How do we avoid technology becoming a cruel taskmaster? Jeremy Peckham has a profound grasp of both biblical truth and the AI revolution. He helps us to think in a Christian way about a subject we cannot ignore. His book is highly recommended. * Paul Mallard, Senior Minister, Widcombe Baptist Church, Bath, England; former President of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches * At last, a Christian critique of Artificial Intelligence written by a domain expert which succeeds in making the subject readily accessible to non-experts. Steering a biblically grounded and carefully argued course between the refuseniks and the techno-optimists, Jeremy Peckham unpacks the implications of Artificial Intelligence for real people made in the image of God. This is a word in season for twenty-first century disciples. * Norman Fraser, IT entrepreneur; Adjunct Professor, Aalborg University Business School, Denmark * Jeremy Peckham's Masters or Slaves? lists many of the worrying pitfalls and problems that he feels currently, and potentially, evolve from an unthinking embrace of Artificial Intelligence. By the end of the book, he presents us with a 'Christian manifesto' for technology, that encourages us to put up barriers in some of our uses of and development of AI to safeguard genuine humanness and the image of God in humans. All this is controversial territory -- a field that Peckham has significant familiarity with given his background in AI -- and not all readers will agree with everything in the book; that is the nature of these unknowns. But the conversation is important, and the principles are necessary: while we embrace technology for the progress of the gospel, we should not idolize technology. * Josh Moody, senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL, and president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries * Artificial intelligence is increasingly prevalent in our societies and you might appreciate the information, directions, or recommendations it provides. But did you ever stop to consider how AI is shaping our lives and our societies? How should we as Christians relate to these new technologies? Jeremy Peckham starts with the principle that all humans are created in the image of Christ. If that's true, what are the implications for our understanding of 'being human'? And how does that shape our thinking about Artificial Intelligence? Technology is evolving quickly and it is high time that we consider the consequences and make up our minds. With many years of experience in this field, Jeremy Peckham's thoughtful observations and sometimes provocative questions and opinions, make for an interesting journey in the field of Artificial Intelligence, ending in a helpful manifesto summarising some of the concerns Jeremy has identified along the way. * Arie de Pater, EEA, Brussels Representative * Masters or Slaves? is a welcome addition to the growing Christian literature on AI. In comparison to other recent Christian publications on AI... Peckham's contribution has a stronger technical foundation due to his extensive background in the technology. Peckham expresses moral concerns similar to those of other authors about the development of AI, while covering a large number of areas that AI currently, or will inevitably, affect. Although Peckham could certainly provide even more background on specific AI technologies, his book serves as an excellent introduction to a Christian response to AI. -- Eddy Wu, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith [December 2021]