Posted by: johnnyp1978 | April 21, 2008

Rise of the Machines

There are movies out there that have presented a world where machines have taken over the world (i.e. Terminator, The Matrix). Are we really that far away from that kind of reality? Just take a look at this article: http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/SmartSpending/ConsumerActionGuide/WhereHasAllTheHelpGone.aspx

Robotic gas pumps have already been invented: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,328907,00.html

In the robot pump article there is even mention of cows being milked by machines.

Now, I don’t necessarily believe computers will ever have the ability to become self-aware, but A.I. could become advanced enough to pose at least some threat. The threat I already see is the machine taking over jobs. I mean, how many poor to middle class people work jobs that could easily be replaced by computers? We already have self-checkout counters… what if all stores went completely self-checkout? When you go to the airport there are much fewer people behind the counter and many more computers for you to check-in yourself. Computers may not ever take over the world on their own initiative, but they could take over the world by our own doing.  

Guess it’s good that I’m looking at a career that couldn’t be replaced by a machine, the pastorate. Now, in my tradition I know that I’m safe, but what about other churches? I wouldn’t put it past some churches to actually move away from reality to virtual church. And look what I found as soon as I googled online churches: http://internet-churches.com/purpose.htm . I’ve even heard of churches who will actually mail the Lord’s Supper to people. I wonder if any of them send baptismal water through the mail as well? Well, these don’t actually replace the pastor, they just replace the need to meet in a building… wrong! A pastor is not just a preacher. A pastor is an undershepherd who is to take care of the flock. There is no way the pastor is going to be able to take care of sheep he never even sees or has communication with. Church is not simply about hearing a sermon. Church is so much more. Hebrews 10:25 warns Christians to not neglect meeting together. I don’t think meeting together in cyberspace qualifies as obedience to the command in Hebrews.

Humans were meant to interact with one another. The machine is driving us a part, and in this way the machine is rising. We must not allow the computer to replace human interaction. The irony is that I’m writing this in cyberspace.

 

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Responses

  1. That’s what you think! Heck, instead of hearing a real pastor, I’d much rather be able to go to church and watch a robot press play on a DVD player so I can watch a robot speak in robotic tones about grace and salvation- it’s much easier for me, than having to worry about pastoral duties and personality clashes. 🙂

  2. Yeah, we could have Teddy Ruxpin up there preaching to us. Or even make some robotic models of famous preachers from the past, sort of like those in the Hall of Presidents at Disney World. We could bring Spurgeon back! But this time he would believe in infant baptism, but he would definitely still smoke cigars; ain’t like he could get cancer. The problem is can robots be ordained? I mean, yeah, they could look like a man but they really wouldn’t be a man, so I don’t think they could be ordained.

  3. If we’re allowed to ordain women, we should be allowed to ordain robots. (?)

  4. Yeah, I’m sure the Episcopals, Methodists, and the PCUSA would ordain robots. But the Reformed churches won’t be down with that, even though there will be the few who will bring it up at every Presbytery and General Assembly. The Baptists will definitely have a problem ’cause you can’t dunk a robot.There will be books like “Four Views of Robots in the Church”, “What St. Paul Really Said About Robots”, “Can Robots Be Saved?”. I’m pretty excited about these debates!

  5. Yeah, I guess if you started dunking robots they would short circuit and maybe electrocute the only remaining human pastors. That’d be quite tragic, wouldn’t it? Hmmm good point.

    I like your book ideas- in fact, I believe they would be excellent titles of books NOW before the robots take over- just to get the attention of people. I like it!


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