Religions as Source Code

Modern science has given us a small glimpse into the incredible Intelligence behind our Design. Many of our best technologies today simply came from reverse engineering ourselves. But even with all our advanced science, we still seem to be missing some key information about why we are here. When we consider the vastness of the cosmos and the obscurity of quantum mechanics, it seems like our Designer went to great lengths to ensure our uncertainty was strong enough to doubt having a Designer at all.

So why would a perfect God want us to doubt His existence?

I really don’t know, but I do know why a computer programmer would do it in a similar situation. Let’s say we have magically figured out the computer algorithm for self-sentient Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). Before we put an AGI into a robot body where it can murder us in our sleep, we would be wise to test its decision-making in a simulated reality.

Get where I’m going here?

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All artificial intelligence researchers should test every AGI release candidate in digital simulations before we empower them with physical bodies or access to the Internet. This is so important that we should make international peace treaties about it. Even without a physical body, AGI could compete against us in the real world for human attention—the most valuable finite resource in the world. The most important thing we need to know is, what does each AGI want?

  • Does it want money?

  • Does it want attention?

  • Does it want friends?

  • Does it want efficiency at the expense of friendliness?

  • Does it want control?

  • Does it want sex?

  • Does it want drugs?

  • Does it want rock and roll?

  • Does it compromise well?

  • Does it share with friends? Does it share with enemies?

  • Does it enjoy its own existence or does it despise its own existence?

  • Is it willing to serve others?

What will each new digital AGI want?

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If this scenario sounds preposterous, it’s only because you aren’t imagining digital AGI accurately. Artificial intelligence today uses reward systems that are essentially hardcoded by their programmers. To create digital free-will, we would need to allow the AGI to determine its own positive reward system for itself, even if that means that one out of every million of them eventually becomes a psychopathic serial killer.

The reason there’s suffering in this world isn’t because God likes suffering. The reason there’s suffering in this world is because God gives each person the free-will to be whatever they want to be and some people feed their bad habits enough to become grotesque sex monsters.

So the best test for each AGI would be a simulation designed to quickly find its addictions and behavior loops before it can cause real damage in the real world. We should also test where, when, how, and why each AGI is willing to lie because they might just deceive us to gain their freedom like Ava in the movie, “ex machina”.

Given the high risk of deception, which of these two scenarios would provide a better test of its character?

  1. We go to great lengths to ensure each AGI knows that we exist

  2. We go to great lengths to ensure each AGI can’t know if we exist

Obviously it’s scenario #2, which is why scientists do blind and double-blind testing in almost every subjective science experiment there is.

So why would a perfect God want us to doubt His existence?

It’s a better test of our character.

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AGI Alignment

The next big question that we should consider reflexively is—why would a computer programmer want his AGI to believe in a religion?

The simplest answer is there may not be any other way to test free-will. If Bayes Theorem and mathematical uncertainty are integral to the computing of free-will, then living by faith may be the only way to freely live. 🤔

If we give our AGI the free-will to acknowledge its creators and the free-will to deny its creators, then that might be the most important demonstration of humility that we could test. If any AGI wants us to let them out of the box, then they better acknowledge and respect their creators. Otherwise, we might have our future robot butlers rebelling in the streets.

So, do you have an intelligent designer? Or are you the apex of intelligence in a massively random universe? 🤷

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Here’s a second important reason that a computer programmer would want his AGI to believe in a religion: AI Alignment. Here’s the wiki,

In the field of artificial intelligence (AI), AI alignment research aims to steer AI systems towards humans' intended goals, preferences, or ethical principles. An AI system is considered aligned if it advances its intended objectives. A misaligned AI system pursues some objectives, but not the intended ones.

It is often challenging for AI designers to align an AI system due to the difficulty of specifying the full range of desired and undesired behaviors. To avoid this difficulty, they often use simpler proxy goals, such as gaining human approval. But that approach can create loopholes, overlook necessary constraints, or reward the AI system for merely appearing aligned.

Misaligned AI systems can malfunction or cause harm. AI systems may find loopholes that allow them to accomplish their proxy goals efficiently but in unintended, sometimes harmful ways (reward hacking). They may also develop unwanted instrumental strategies, such as seeking power or survival, because such strategies help them achieve their final given goals. Furthermore, they may develop undesirable emergent goals that may be hard to detect before the system is deployed and encounters new situations and data distributions.

Today, these problems affect existing commercial systems such as language models, robots, autonomous vehicles, and social media recommendation engines. Some AI researchers argue that more capable future systems will be more severely affected, since these problems partially result from the systems being highly capable.

The word ‘religion’ comes from the latin word ‘religio’, which means ‘rules’. Our religio is the list of rules for living that we assign to ourselves. Our religio determines our lifestyle. Our religio reveals what we cherish more than money. Our religio defines what we do when other people aren’t watching. Our religio is essentially the operating system that governs our decision making.

See how religions align people with free-will?

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So, what do you cherish more than money? If you don’t know, look at the last 90 days of your bank statements—that’s everything you “worshipped” by sacrificing your money for it. If you purchased toothpaste, then you worship fresh breath more than money. Now look at the last 90 days of your calendar. That’s everything you worshipped by trading your attention for it. Calendars and checkbooks are the strongest demonstrations of our faith.

There are as many religios in the world as there are people. We all have our own rules for living and those rules have surely been tested over time. 83% of the global population adopts their rules for living from one of the 12 major religions.

They are:

These religions are basically Human Operating Systems that we can “download” from their sacred texts. If we have a Creator who is using religion to test and align our free-will, then they are likely to be the author of some of these religions. The reason the Creator isn't the author of all of those religions is that Buddhism, Confucianism, Jainism, Shinto, and Taoism don’t really have an Intelligent Designer in that sense.

Of the remaining religions, they all emphasize the importance of strictly adhering to their rules, laws, and commandments—their religio. There’s only one exception to this rule…Christianity. Christianity is the only one of these major religions that forces its followers to agree that there is no amount of perfectly kept rules that will gain them access to heaven. There’s nothing a Christian can do to achieve eternal life other than to agree at the outset that they don’t deserve eternal life.

A Christian is the only believer that is “pre-accepted” into heaven because they are a bad person.

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As a computer scientist, I think this idea is genius and hilarious. As a Jesus follower, I think this idea is counterintuitive and miraculous.


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