Retaining Humanity in the Information Age

In recent times, situations with humans and machine computers increased. For evidence, there is a recent analysis by a doctor of philosophy student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), Carrie Cai, and supported by Massachusetts Institute of Technology professors Rob Miller and Jim Glass, former CSAIL postdoc Philip Guo, and undergraduate Anji Ren. Adam Conner-Simons in CSAIL expressed the results of Cai’s leadership related to a language-learning app labeled with the name WaitChatter. Conner-Simons (2015) said, “In a pilot study, WaitChatter users learned an average of about four words a day over a period of two weeks. The system takes words from both a built-in list as well as the user’s ongoing chat conversations.” The presence of interconnectivity is apparent, but learning in and of itself as a purpose did not save even the wisest Ancient Grecians from travailing. For instance, the reader may look to the writings of Plato about Socrates and reckon the irritation that he felt at being the target of sophistry despite his effort of love for his people (Cahn, Markie, 2012 p. 16-32).

Within these times, Byron Spice shared information about the results of Facebook and Carnegie Mellon University researchers, Moira Burke and Robert Kraut, on personal interactions with computers. Spice (2016) said, “By considering mood and behavior over time, Burke and Kraut’s study revealed that Facebook interactions with friends predicted improvements in such measures of well-being as satisfaction with life, happiness, loneliness and depression.” The psychological importance of understanding what and who people love is consistently important for humanity. Othello’s moral failings because of not understanding Iago’s hatred towards him serves as a sign and a wonder of the opposite being true as well, forever (Shakespeare).

For people, what we do is not as important as why we do it. Marshall McLuhan spoke about media serving as extensions of the human body. McLuhan (1989) said, “Without the artist’s intervention man merely adapts to his technologies and become their servo-mechanism” (p. 98). Therefore, people engineering their environments might become re-engineered for the new environments; the man without creativity will be controlled by circumstances. The Book of Proverbs (KJV) states, “My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change” (24:21). People may integrate faith with reason or develop derivative works of human-to-human or human-to-world relationships in the form of human-computer interactions, and prayerfully the truths that apply to all people will be retained. For learning languages as part of daily labor, the labor should be retained as done by Cai’s team. When seeking the transcendent with love from people, dependence on emotion more than logic or credibility is a timeless warning sign about misplacing trust in the hearts of men given to change more than the wisdom of those who study and reflect on relevance beyond the self. Further, the human self without a consistent truth about him will be repurposed for someone else’s design. Therefore, when interacting with computers designed by humanity, the reader should take care that he retains what results in blessings for ourselves and other people; that the soul of man is enriched.

References

Cahn, S. M., & Markie, P. J. (2012). Ethics: History, theory, and contemporary issues (5th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. p. 16-32

Conner-Simons, A. (2015, May 14). Learn a language while you text | MIT News. Retrieved from http://news.mit.edu/2015/learn-language-while-you-text-0514

Shakespeare, W., & Barnet, S. (1996). Othello.

Spice, B. (2016, September 6). Friends Help Friends on Facebook Feel Better | Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science. Retrieved from https://www.scs.cmu.edu/news/friends-help-friends-facebook-feel-better

Reflections on 2016

Over the course of 2016, I learned about various topics related to natural and transcendent aspects of existence, and I think that reflecting on them is important for understanding why I should continue on my academic journey. Since January, I received admission to Regent University, and I call myself a Regent: someone who represents a ruler before He returns. This ruler is who I believe will be called “Faithful and True” (KJV, Revelation 19:11). Starting from that belief, understanding all truths related to the Biblical Scriptures and therefore all man might be achieved. This is only in the context of man’s understanding, for the Father said that man’s ways are not his ways (Is 55:8). For example, microeconomics might be commonly thought of as a “dry science,” but it comes alive when noticed in the Biblical Scriptures. Information Systems contextually affect every part of contemporary society, and the ethical relevance related to those who would guide or control people with them might result in efficient results if the epistemological structures that the faiths of the people conceptualizing and engineering the science and its applications are built on are understood.

Besides that, computer science has theories, but without a constant standard, values may progress while many vulnerable groups who I think are marginalized people remain those who will not have the opportunity because the best in us would not be represented over time. Next, theories about data relate to information. The Bible says that “Word of the Most High pierces even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit” (He 4:12). For the lives of people, I think that strengthening hermeneutical understanding for exegetical results is the best way that data may be utilized. Although there is the notion that pleasure should be maximized as an evolution of lasting happiness, the most widely respected nation-state in contemporary history holds, among other truths believed self-evident, that the pursuit of happiness is granted to all men by our Creator (US 1776). People may argue the details, but I agree with the contemporary view that teleological theology helps understand the context of data more than derivations to a point alone may seem. Hence, integrating faith with reason builds general relatability to what is important: the transcendent standard of morality and people who may work with His concept of right and wrong even if without a direct relationship with the Son of Man.

While ethical understanding has relevance to isolated groups, there is strength in greater numbers that morality may persuade. When volunteering for a video game website, for example, I realized that the niche ethical code of conduct that people accepted for membership was a bubble that reflected reality in an exponential form, so subjects quickly gained and lost relevance, but the moral principles related to it are inversely conserved over time with a slow rate of change in understanding. I think that experience is a sign that knowledge is and will increase, but wisdom remains an outcome of looking outside ourselves for guidance and reflection. Furthermore, mathematical understanding comes at the cost of time and effort, but the reward is a refined theological understanding of the sovereign who created the world and is blessed from everlasting to everlasting (Gen 1:1, Ps 41:13).

In Parallel and Distributive Programming, the superiority of relatively larger datasets being handled by a distributed set of nodes in comparison to the superiority of handling relatively smaller datasets faster with shared memory is relevant for understanding the logic of people seeking moral and ethical understanding of the world and what is beyond it. This is because the Tower of Babel, for instance, was built with a people speaking one language, a relatively smaller dataset than what languages exist, today, and they might have reached heaven had it not been for the Most High’s intervention (Gen 11:1-9). In contrast, people are reaching towards the heavens in a distributed way over the course of thousands of years with man eventually stepping foot on the moon itself with common ambitions in popular culture and in government-funded programs beyond the earth’s orbit.

With these courses, I do think that the most important aspect of my education is ethical understanding related to how scientific theory and application might benefit the common man in a way better than pleasure can provide that would be recognized as victory. In the light that right beliefs shine in the world, the engineering applications of the world may benefit all of us who accept the responsibility that understanding what truth, goodness, and beauty are require in us. Biblically-based education provides the opportunity for that.

Epistemology and Information on the Internet

A practice that is relevant to the development of views is finding citable sources. However, what constitutes a citable source is predicated on the notion that a source is trustworthy.

In contemporary times, one of the most relevant topics related to developing views is how we accept what we consider useful for dissemination, and the Internet is related to that. Bo Brinkman and Alton F. Sanders (2013) said, “Epistemology, roughly speaking, studies the nature of knowledge and how we know what we know” (p. 211). A practice that is relevant to the development of views is finding citable sources. However, what constitutes a citable source is predicated on the notion that a source is trustworthy. Brinkman and Sanders mentioned that the start of the age of Enlightenment began societal dependence on singular experts who apply reason and construct knowledge (p. 211). Although this is the progress of history from a secular perspective and is valid as a concept of reason, it is a position apart from the grace of the Most High. We may look to the ancient philosophy, that of science, also relevant for an understanding of how Biblical truths are germane. In paraphrasing, Stephen Law (2007) said,

Scientists construct theories they believe are confirmed by what they observe. Such confirmation, however, comes in degrees. A theory might be very slightly confirmed by a piece of evidence, or it might be very strongly confirmed. One question we might ask about confirmation is: what makes one theory more strongly confirmed than the next? (170)

For Biblical truths, I think that individuals and people may rely on trust. The strongest argument that a skeptic could say against trusting the Biblical Scriptures is that no sense of self or self-concept may be trusted; all of reality could be a hologram for a single brain interfacing with a computer while placed in a vat. However, the notion that nothing is real therefore nothing is permitted is an induction of an induction, and doing so is a failure to build a general or specific argument based on the character of an individual person or people related to an action or series of actions. Without the acknowledgment of differentiated character, there can be no general brain in a vat. Without a general commanding character, there can be no multiple brains in vats. The notion that a computer could represent human ideals as well as human immorality and unethical behavior as an unconstructed leader that could be known in human terms separates the skeptic’s argument from a brain in a vat controlled by a computer from the essential resulting position that is a computer that is co-dependent on the brain because the best that the computer could be is another level of creation. There must be an ultimate level of truth by the skeptic’s own method of exhaustion. As Thomas Aquinas said of the highest level of existence that must be apart from reality, et-hoc-dicimus-deum: “And this we call God.” (Charry, 2000, p. 33). In proposing this position as the basis of trust, I think that sources that seek truth may be trusted.

When reviewing reports from one source or another on a single issue and there are contradictory reports, that may be an indicator of some unseen truth that may be derived or, on the other side of the mathematical axis of logic, induced. Although there is a contemporary notion that a truth is merely a fact, Biblical truths are facts that apply to all of mankind, male and female. Different people saying the exact same thing about an event implies that there is one source thus different people saying different things about an event implies that there are multiple sources and is more trustworthy than a single source. A Biblical truth that is relevant to this discussion is a verse from Mosaic Law. The Book of Deuteronomy (KJV) says, “One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established” (19:15). Therefore, even with two or more sources, if these so-called sources have a single source for themselves linking them all together, two separate sources are more historically credible in a way that truths may be respected and understood.

With that said, the Internet offers access to much data on the internet, but in my experience, there are relatively few major sources of information. The vertical honor or prestige that is apparent is elevated from the base of horizontal honor that is introductory recognition. For the purpose of keeping the freedoms of speech and equal protections led by the United States, alternative sources or news should probably be acknowledged in a truthful way. Going against that is an attack on the integrity of character that Internet news sources have respect for apart from mere consistency. Rather than only consistency, the integrity of character that I speak of is the consistency of doing right things. Without that kind of integrity, any notion of doing the right thing is coated by the subject of seeking an end that results in maximum good for a particular group of people rather than what benefits man in common. As a Christian American, I believe that those who lack in basic necessities such as knowledge need truths that may help enrich characters so even if money is tight, people may rejoice in the blessings that they do have or will have with hard work.

Even though the epistemology that people may take for granted can be useful in a variety of disciplines, I think that there are issues with contemporary perspectives related to the development of views about contemporary issues. There is a useful application for the skeptic’s strongest position and that is the recognition that computer that the brain in a vat is attached to would ultimately be a part of creation as well, so assuming the highest existence as beyond reality that is thus supernatural is more tenable. Having said that, distinguishing truths that apply to all men, male and female, may help recognize fact from fiction for the purpose of developing information relevant for dissemination on the Internet.

References

Brinkman, W. J., & Sanders, A. F. (2013). Ethics in a Computing Culture. Boston, MA.

Charry, E. T. (2000). Inquiring after God: Classic and contemporary readings. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Law, S. (2012). Philosophy.