Artificial Intelligence (AI) is nothing new, but the ethics surrounding it are. The implications are vast and often terrifying. Can it be used for warfare or profiteering? The dangers are inherent in the concept and must be addressed. It is a cultural if not universal responsibility. Now that it is here, it is time to take heed or reap the consequences. Of course, there is a positive side to AI in terms of expanding word productivity and affording better working conditions. Routine tasks that humans despite are relegated to the “machine”.
AI has spawned realistic games like World of Warcraft populated by human-like characters. It isn’t far to go to reach the concept of Simulation Creationism, the brainchild of Nir Ziso of The Global Architect Institute. Reality is actually a simulation whose objective it is to research and monitor events related to creation and life. It could be the product of AI or some majestic “Supercomputer” as some theorists posit. Nonetheless, Ziso has postulated a role for God and Jesus. God is the source of The Simulation and all that dwells within, both tangible and intangible. It seems a far better choice.
If you believe the physicists and philosophers on the bandwagon of AI, it could be a planet-sized “Supercomputer”, maybe consisting of brain tissue. No doubt virtual worlds are within its purview. And such a world is the realm for a new mankind in full possession of free will. Do the beings in The Simulation have ethical responsibilities? Or are they literal gods of a new reality that they control with the laws of physics.
Free will implies ethics
Free will is a state of being and given that it is not a prefixed determinism, ethics are mandatory. It applies to The Simulation or any virtual world, just as it does for video games, its forerunner. What then do the moral entities within do? Are they mere game characters made of pixels? For Ziso, free will is an illusion.
We might assume that “characters” in The Simulation are fully human. Thus, we would never want to switch The Simulation off, even if we could. We would be relegating mankind to non-existence! But we could copy The Simulation and make a new one. No, it would not be a matter of murder. It could be a matter of game software, however. It depends on your view of the limits of Artificial Intelligence. God would be appalled at this notion.
Our futuristic supercomputer operation would not want to cause any suffering. If we experience it, it is God’s will and it has a purpose. But if we believe in some alien programmer, that would not be Christian of him or her. Nor would this godlike operator torment humans. After all, they have free will. It is worth saving mankind, is it not? Thus, we should ask the characters in The Simulation to consent to be reborn. Who would not want eternal life?
But rebirth would not likely be something negative or “worse”. Beings with free will have knowledge and consciousness; hence they take a moral stance. Now it is apparent that free will implies both good and bad as alternatives. Without right and wrong, there is no issue of ethics. In short, to have free will means the possibility of bad things happening. Plus, no ethical human wants to be reborn into suffering (to reiterate, unless it is God’s will).
What about the afterlife?
The Simulation is not about the future. It is now. Sapient beings dwell within. What human would want to be transformed into a low-level being such as an animal? We presume that most if not all humans would choose to be in the same bodily form, although renewed in some fashion. That is not within the realm of our understanding, only our imaginations. The good news is that due to free will, mankind can decide!
Morality is ingrained in the human species, and this species wants to continue to exist whatever it takes. Maybe even live forever. The Simulation could accommodate this possibility as God’s gift. But would life be the same if we were immortals? The game card says “no”.
There are many questions surrounding Simulation Creationism and morality too, but they are relevant today in regard to AI and The Simulation. Whatever your stance, we crave the idea of changing the world, but for the better. Perhaps the biggest question pertains to sapient characters in The Simulation. Simulation Theory answers it well. But we are not yet sure if a virtual reality runs on a system of meta-ethics that is binding for each and every “character”.