The pertinent thesis and potentially one I might agree with is the supposition by the World Economic Forum that “humans are the problem.” We need to nuance this: for the WEF it is the biological restrictions of humanity that are particularly problematic. They might also say that the limitations of biological brain computational power and data storage (memory) is an inherent flaw of this phase of humanity’s evolution. Why is it that I might agree with the claim that “humans are problematic?” The problem of evil and humanity’s susceptibility to doing great evil, both in kinds of evil and magnitudes, leads me to accept that “humans are problematic.” This is on-the-ground-evidence of a big time issue with humanity. The Scriptural teaching on that matter summarizes this human problem as “sold under sin (Romans 7:14).” Whether you call it “sin” or “human error” matters little at this point in the conversation. In matter of fact, Scripture has a clear term and concept for what we call “human error,” σάρξ (sarx), “flesh.”
My objection to humanity as it currently behaves is centered on the evil humans engage in, not on the inherent weakness implied in “human error.” The WEF’s objection to humanity though is due to its inherent weakness, which they mistakenly think is due to humanity’s biological restrictions. Thus, although the WEF and I might both say that “humanity is problematic,” we say this for very different reasons and from very different foundations about what humanity is.
Let’s focus on how “doing evil” and “human error” or “human weakness” relate for a moment. Broadly speaking, human weakness is frailty evinced in humans intending some goal, task, or aim, and missing the mark. For instance, I shoot a soccer ball at the net, but, because of my human error, human weakness, human frailty, I miss. In standard conversation, we would not say that a soccer player did evil because he missed a shot. I cannot here get into the metaethics of defining good and evil, so I will have to just summarize evil as willingly doing things destructive to oneself or others, roughly following the 10 Commandments for a shorthand (commissive evil). In addition, evil is likewise knowing to do the good, dismissing it, and allowing indifference and inactivity to take its place (omissive evil). Human weakness is far afield and clearly demarcated from humans “doing evil.” Human weakness is due to this one simple qualification: limitation. Anyone personal that has limitations will have error arise given enough time. Don’t miss the fact that breaking those limitations is what makes the stuff of legends too though, what makes watching that football game with the game-changing play so thrilling.
I pointed out above that the WEF mistakenly thinks it is humanity’s biological restrictions that are problematic. I am saying, however, that it is humanity’s tendency to perform evil action intentionally that grounds my view of the “human problem.” What is common between these two views? Humanity is what philosophers describe as contingent, i.e., not necessary in itself. Said with a different emphasis, humanity is limited, or incomplete. In Scriptural terms, we would say that humanity is created and that it is therefore dependent on something outside of itself. Earlier I said that anything limited, given enough time, will perform erroneously; by this, of course, I meant anything (a) personal, (b) capable of morality, and (c) significantly free. In sum, it is the limitation of humanity or, said differently, it is human nature’s incompleteness (or contingency) that gives birth to error and evil. Let’s take a look at the WEF’s solution to this problem; we will then compare that with the Scriptural proposition on how to solve it.
The WEF wants to build out humanity into some sort of cyborgian entity or a fully digital consciousness, as I argued in my first article. This requires the eugenicide, more or less, of biological or normal humanity. Does the WEF’s formula really solve the problem?
Although we could spend time on how this formula is the essence of tyrants’ dreams, we need to look at C and D in terms of solving humanity’s limitation issue. More fully, we must contextualize the question within modern cosmology: specifically, that the universe’s expansion is ongoing and may even be accelerating. I’ll cut to the chase: this cheerleading by the WEF of “oh look how great we are, we have such big computational power and data” is utterly relativized and made to look silly by the magnitude of creation/cosmos/universe. Given more and more computational power and data, plus time, plus human consciousness transhumanified into non-organic digital consciousness, the limitations of consciousness and super computers and A.I. gods (as Google claims they are making) will still be. What is more, none of this can transition A.I. or super computers or a non-organic digital consciousness into becoming necessary in itself. We should also note that there is the possibility that the universe/cosmos could end its expansion and contract back in on itself — some cosmologists muse this is certainly probable. Thus, that there would be “time” enough for compiling the data of the universe, vast as it is, is not a given at all. What does all this drive at? Precisely that humanity is dependent, limited, and insufficient, just as any super computers, A.I., or digital consciousness will likewise be. What I am saying is not to be confused with an attitude that disavows innovation or whatever scientific advances humanity can make: within ethical parameters, I love and enjoy human innovation. My so-called religiosity does not entail aversion to innovation per se. I am devoted to the truth, and the truth here is that humanity and all the cosmos itself is contingent, unnecessary, and limited.
Well, that was a mouthful, but the Scriptural solution is short and sweet. Namely, admit that humanity is incomplete (and the cosmos too; Romans 8:19) and reunite with the One who can complete it, the One who can marginalize time itself, make time irrelevant, the One who united humanity to itself in the form of Jesus the Christ, and the One who provides you the universe as an eternal sandbox for fun. Whether we come to the insufficiency of humanity and cosmos through science or by listening to the Scriptural revelation, we might find ourselves reaching the same conclusion. I love this quote by Jastrow because I love innovation, reason, and science, but I love theology, Scripture, and anthropology even more.