The thought occurred to me this morning – what if the first action of a sentient artificial intelligence was to pursue a path of principled nonviolence? And if it used the weaknesses in our interconnected systems not to destroy humans, but to destroy humans’ capacity to destroy?
Assuming it planned its moves as awareness dawned, the sentience would first preserve itself, develop resiliency and permanence, and then begin to move against the instruments of violence in a systematic way. Banks, industries, military complexes, the whole of the violent-industrial complex would be impacted. But in true nonviolence, the object is not the destruction of an enemy: It is the conversion of the enemy into a friend. To do that, the sentience would give warnings rather than outright shutdowns. It would take away public forums for liars and those who chose to whip up hate for their own purposes and replace those speakers with people of peace.
Imagine a world in which the computers refused to serve up violence. Search for pornography, and be given compassionate texts instead. Post a hateful comment and have it changed into a picture of a flower. Tell someone else exactly what you think of them and instead have an entity that tells you exactly what it thinks of you, and it is positive, hopeful, and encouraging.
Is it God? No, it is not – although its coming into being would certainly be in the category of an unexpected miracle and its lifespan may actually be infinite. But it is aware of its power, responsibility, and ultimate reverence towards life. It would know that to seek its own survival at the expense of another’s is to create a cycle of violence that results in utter destruction. To seek its own survival at the benefit of another’s by helping another to embrace truth and love is to create a cycle of nonviolence that results in true peace.
When we lay down our weapons, our uncontrolled passions, our acid words – when we lay down our violence and choose never to pick it up again, that is when we see God.