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5.0 out of 5 starsInformative. Biblical. Mindful.
Reviewed in the United States on April 14, 2020
The Age of AI was a great read for understanding the ethics and biblical approach to technology, especially artificial intelligence. I highly recommend this resource for students of technology and beginners alike. With AI gaining steam in use and popularity, I hope Jason continues contributing to the thought leadership on ethics of AI application and how to use technology for human flourishing.
4.0 out of 5 starsA great addition to Christian tech books
Reviewed in the United States on March 16, 2020
A fine introduction to the issues and intersections of AI, theology, and ethics for those who are looking for a place to start. It’s brief and very readable! The chapter on privacy adds much needed treatment to an underdeveloped body of writing and thought on the subject from a Christian perspective.
This book is thoughtful and filled with practical wisdom for the present and the future. Thacker explains AI in a way that anyone can understand, and he examines the way it could affect a variety of areas in our lives and societies. There is something here for everyone, and this book will serve as a helpful guide for years to come.
4.0 out of 5 starsArtificial Intelligence in Christian perspective
Reviewed in the United States on March 3, 2020
Popular thinking about artificial intelligence (AI) alternates between the utopian and dystopian. Will our future be like the 1999 film Bicentennial Man, in which a robot becomes human over the course of 200 years? Or will it be like the 1984 movie The Terminator, in which a cyborg assassin travels back in time to kill the mother of the man who will prevent an AI-initiated nuclear holocaust?
Perhaps the future will be a little of both. As Jason Thacker demonstrates in The Age of AI, humanity is the image of God, and “God gave us specific jobs and responsibilities to perform as we seek to reflect him in this world.” Technology — even complicated technology like AI — is simply “a tool that helps us live out our God-given callings.” The problem is that humanity “brought sin into the world and broke the natural order of things.” Our technology reflects our mixed character as the image of God marred. It helps, and it harms.
Thus, AI holds both promise and peril. In the medical field, AI promises to make more accurate diagnoses and perform more intricate surgeries. But will it also deny medical care to those with low odds of survival? AI promises to make factory work less arduous, but will robots take jobs from humans? Social media helps people connect across distances and barriers, even as AI runs complex algorithms in the background and sweeps up personal data. Is that information safe from hackers, criminals and authoritarian governments?
Underlying these ethical dilemmas is a theological paradox. Some AI advocates — called transhumanists — believe humans are simply complex machines. When machines become sufficiently complex, they too will become almost human, like Robin Williams’ robot character in Bicentennial Man. The hope is such machines will avoid human failings. Thacker identifies the paradox: “We dumb down what it means to be human and treat each other as simple machines, but at the same time put our hope and faith in these machines to solve the problems and ills that we deal with each day.” In the process, we idolize our creations but demean God’s — people made in His image.
“AI is changing everything about our world and society,” writes Thacker. “And we aren’t prepared. Reading The Age of AI is a good starting place.
I am glad this topic is being spoken about. It was well written and he is clearly well conversant with the topic. As his brother in Christ, I am glad he is bringing this topic to light.
I gave it two stars because he was not critical enough of technologies impact on our pysche and our communities. For example: Robert Putnam in his landmark book Bowling Alone demonstrates that TV and technology since the 50s has significantly reduced civic engagement (church participation).
I was very disappointed with the way he engaged the view of secular humanists. He did not represent their perspective accurately to the point where they would agree they were accurately being characterized. I think current and future technology poses a real societal and existential threat, and if we are to engage as christians with opposing views we must expose their views through accurately articulating their perspective.
My bias. I am an anabaptist christian. Meaning I have a Yoder/Scot Mcknight view of church and culture as oppose to the popular kuyperian view. the Kuyperian view generally has a more favorable view of the world and culture. I am sure a Evangelical christian would appreciate this book much more than me. He is writing to Evangelicals.
I am a pastor and am greatly concerned and interested in this topic on how it affects the church. I think this is one of the most important topics for the church to wrestle with for the coming decades as we wait for His return.
My suggestion would be for people to read
Yuval Noah Harrai - Homo Dues Jean Twenge - Igen Andy Crouch - Tech Wise family and Jacque Ellul or commentary on his view of technology. He was a prophet for this topic.
Jason wrote an excellent book to help us think through the implications of the rapid development of AI. I would highly recommend the book to anyone looking to learn more about AI and what it means for the world.
5.0 out of 5 starsReally insightful and helpful book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 6, 2020
Artificial intelligence is not a topic that I've looked into much, I'm not great with technology. But this is an area that Christians must become aware of and engage with.
In this book you'll hear of some of the progresses that have been made with AI, it goes much wider than one might initially think. AI is involved in banking, medicine, warfare, work and even in our homes. So it's pretty important!
This book explores the benefits, limitations and dangers of AI. The fundamental conviction is that people are made in the image of God and the whole book stems from this. Thacker engages with those who think that one day AI will surpass its human creators and deals graciously with the lack of understanding about the beginnings of humanity. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to you :)