Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Freewill, mindreading, and God

I have been on a Ted kick lately. Intellectually stimulating, Ted talks make me wonder.

Below is one about a new technology that is using brainwaves to move virtual objects, then, with the computer wired, moving real objects. It raises questions of Freewill, mindreading, and God. The end by showing some of the applications like thinking the lights on. Science fiction stuff, where we seemly are fused with machines and we end up living in Matrix like world. What does that mean to our faith in Jesus. If person can be half human and half machine, can that person be a follow of Jesus?

There was an interesting editorial in the NY Times philosophy blog the Stone, William Egginton makes the case for freedom and freewill. The problem he tackles is a corollary to the new technology of brainwaves. Recently, researches have created a machine that can predict the decisions of a monkey. The idea that soon we can have one that predicts human decisions. If a machine can predict ones thought, does that disprove free will.

Now, before making too much of this, the technology works by reading the baselines of the brainwaves. A person first has to think of what he wants to do, the computer gets a brainwave reading. Then when the person thinks the same thought, the theory goes, the brainwaves with be the same and then moves the object. If I try to fool the machine and imagine the object left and code it move right, the machine would have no way of reading this. If I think left it would read move right. It can read my mind, only baseline reproduction of thoughts.

All I know is that there has to be so much theological reflection as the new technologies start to enter our lives.

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