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Richards: False Prophecies of a Robotic Future Are Based on a False Darwinian Premise

David Klinghoffer

We’ve just posted some excellent comments by Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Jay Richards who spoke at the launch of Discovery’s Bradley Center on Natural and Artificial Intelligence in Dallas. Watch it here:

As Dr. Richards observes, what he calls the Officially Smart People have been seeding the media conversation with a pair of contradictory prophecies about the rise of robots. One is ridiculously dystopian, the other absurdly utopian. In both, robots replace almost all human workers. In both cases, the scenario of total robotic replacement stems from a Darwinian premise that humans are nothing more than evolved “meat machines.” Richards: 

If that’s true, if we’re just machines, we’re produced by this blind Darwinian process and we become conscious and create things, then there’s no reason to assume that machines we designed to do thinking won’t do that better than we can and ultimately replace us without remainder. So that everything about us can ultimately be replaced mentally and then eventually physically through robotics.

The key phrase there is “without remainder.” The rejoinder to this way of thinking, which Jay Richards expresses with wonderful concision, is that humans possess a unique capacity forever setting us apart from machines. It’s the capacity for “creative freedom.” In this quick video, Jay illuminates just what that means. That is George Gilder and Robert Marks with him on the stage.