Atheism & AI

book_3d“He’s an atheist, the rule not the exception among AI experts.” So says James Barrat, talking about Eliezer Yudkowsky from the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI).

I’m currently listening to the audio version of Barrat’s book ‘Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era’. It’s an enjoyable exploration of the dangers of artificial intelligence.

As an aside, I’m a bit worried that atheism is “the rule” for AI experts. I’d like my AI experts to be a bit more open-minded. Agnostic, at least.

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  1. secularnz says:

    Thanks Richard

    Your ‘aside’ may just be the result of unclear definitions. If you subscribe to the view that religious belief sits in a spectrum of theist-agnostic-atheist, then your comment may have merit (though there are few who meet that definition of atheist). However, another common view is that theism and agnosticism are different propositions and not mutually exclusive (so you can have gnostic theists, gnostic atheists, agnostic theists and agnostic atheists).

    If your concern about open-mindedness is with the few people who positively claim there is no god(s) (aka strong atheists, positive atheists, gnostic atheists), then you might have a point in principle (but in practice very few people to apply it to).


    • Thanks for your comment @secularnz. My concern is more your latter point: that people who are building the next evolution of intelligence on this planet have absolutely ruled out a God or spiritual otherness. It concerns me that they’re so…well, materialist.

      However, I must admit I’m not as sophisticated as you in terms of recognizing different ‘levels’ of atheism. My somewhat blunt definition of atheist is someone who can 100% say for sure that there is no God.



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