Commentary and Critique by Br. Alexis Bugnolo
In the last year a great number of publications have pushed the narrative of A. I. as man’s greatest invention which will transform our lives forever. The journal, “Catholic Spirit”, the Catholic newspaper published by the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA, recent published this article extolling the morality of the new software technology.
I have not weighed much into this debate, but as a graduate of the University of Florida Gainesville, from one of the top 10 faculties of Cultural Anthropology in the United States, and as one of the leading translators of medieval texts in Scholastic Theology, who has run numerous websites and written code for decades, I believe I have the moral duty to speak out on the grave threat to human civilization from the so-called “artificial intelligence” technologies and narratives.
First, there is no such thing as artificial intelligence. Intelligence is impossible without God willing to grant an entity the ability to understand. This grant is twofold, in the structure of the being of the thing He has created, and in the Light he bestows upon that being to see and grasp the truth of things.
Man can neither create a structure capable of knowing nor can he give it light to see the truth.
“Artificial intelligence” therefore, as a name, is a lie.
It is also an ongoing fraud. Because it is proposed by many as the solution to man’s problems which is entirely beneficial.
To understand this we must first consider what intelligence is and how it is beneficial to man.
Intelligence is the ability to know with understanding. Knowing is the material part. Sense can know things, that is be familiar with them. Even a camera in this sense can know things by taking a photograph. This kind of knowing is signified in the Latin verb, cognoscere. Even dogs and cats know things. But it would be more accurate to say know of things.
But nothing but a being with an intellect can understand things. To understand is to recognize the principles which are the cause of things, according to its essence, nature, existence and habits. But to do this one must have an ability which can step out of space and time and look back down upon them to see the truth of a thing. But this requires a simplicity which is entirely apart from space and time and matter. Thus only God, Angels and men are intelligent.
But God did not bestow intelligence upon Angels and Man out of a whim. No, being perfect Truth and infinite Goodness, everything He has done He has done with a purpose. And that purpose is to share the participation in His Goodness with certain specific creatures: those which are intelligent. The Angels to serve Him, since they are the most like unto Him, being pure spirits themselves. And Man to serve Him, since to express His infinite Goodness in the most supreme manner, He chose to become Incarnate as a Man, and intelligent man.
But God has no other purpose in creating. Therefore, there is neither any other intelligent life in all the universe, nor any possibility of any other species or entities attaining intelligence.
Because intelligence is not a good like being warm or hot, living or reproducing. It is for one supreme purpose: knowing and loving God, the Creator.
Intelligence thus is something purely spiritual. And since man can not create anything material, much more can he not create anything spiritual.
Thus the claims of “artificial intelligence” are a fraud. And such a horrible and profound fraud as to border on a heresy.
Consequently the proponents of “artificial intelligence” are necessarily involved in an idolatry. And an especially harmful idolatry, because not only an idolatry which enslaves man, but one which aims to denigrate him in his highest natural capacity: thought itself.
For these reasons it is not surprising that all men who have already enslaved themselves to subhuman vices of lust and greed and pride, are flocking to the new cult of “artificial intelligence” as the promised god to give them what they insatiably desire.
But this idolatry is especially harmful to human civilization, because as human beings we are plastic creatures. It is necessary for our spirit that we grow in learning and to do this that we in practice use our minds, memories, intellects to think and understand and become cognizant of the world in which we live so that through that we come to contemplate, worship and adore the God who created it, seek Him out and do His will.
But the false gospel of “artificial intelligence” which promises facility in doing and thinking and problem solving, will necessarily cause an ossification or lack of growth in the mental faculties of all who use it. Because they will use it out of sloth instead of using their own faculties. And by such a habitual avoidance of the work of the mind, they will become incapable of wanting to think on their own.
And such a bad habit will necessarily reduce them to the level of dogs and cats, where there is no understanding, only the response to stimuli, interior and exterior to the body.
And that will be the end of human civilization.
Also, by such habituation, human individuals will become more and more desirous to have technology implanted into their minds to give them even more facile access to A. I.. And once they do, they will no longer be doing any thinking, A. I. will do it for them. And then they will no longer live as humans, but robots.
For those who appreciate what is really means to be human, it is already manifestly evident how ugly, cruel and death-filled the products of A.I. are: from images to written texts, the things A. I. creates are without any comprehension of the variety of details found in real life and real art; without any comprehension of human individuality or spiritual values.
But there is an even greater threat by A. I. that its products or its use by individuals, because humanity requires and includes community and social interaction. And by the habitual use of A. I. this will come to disappear, as human individuals spend more and more time interacting with something dead, rather that with one another and in prayer with God.
Thus, the “Catholic Spirit” does a great disservice to the Church in publishing the nonsense contained in the article above, with its shallow reflections on utility and its even shallower appreciation of the existential threat to humanity posed by these technologies.
A. I. is the Globalist replacement for God. For those who reject the true God to rule over them, the Globalist are creating a god to rule under them and inside of them.
And it is precisely those who wish to understand who alone will see how utterly evil and demonic and inhuman A. I. .is, and why as a civilization we must reject and destroy it or it will destroy us.