Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

R.E. Slater - It's Not AI Sentience We Should Fear but Our Own Misuse of It

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It's Not AI Sentience We Should Fear
but Our Own Misuse of It

by R.E. Slater

One last AI article before beginning a new series on the Evolution of God and Religion, which I began several months ago when examining the Evolution of Man and Religion in earlier articles including the last set of articles focused on the Evolution of the Christian faith.

While on vacation this past April I found a book lying around the beach condo by an unknown author, a Mr. Yuval Noah Harai entitled, Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind. I began reading it but didn't get very far, perhaps the first several chapters; but would like to recommend it to anyone who is interested in mankind's evolutionary CULTURAL development.

It's not a Christian book or a religious book. Simply a book which states that man's ability to converse with one another through language laid the groundwork to be able to express our beliefs and sympathies about God, ourselves, and the world we live in. I did not get any sense in my brief read that Harai is expressing any validity for religion... only it's possibility through the miracle of human languages.

Further, while nosing around investigating the dark side of AI, I found that this same author, Yuval Harai, has been taking the results of his findings on human cultural development to apply it towards the much feared (overly feared? legitimately feared?) subject of AI sentience.

Likewise, I too have been nosing around trying to develop a sense of humanity's cultural development organically via evolution, culturally, via religion, and in the next segment, sociologically, via civilization... of which I continue to urge present cultures towards the building of ecological civilizations leaning into love, social justice and equality, environmental care and restoration, and generally, to find a new rhythm and balance in our lives more in line with nature's more generative side.

Moreover, I've been working through the many positives of AI sentience in recent chatbot posts while also working towards mankind's cultural beliefs about God and religion. Hence, I have posted David Foster's books and video to balance Yuval Harai's sentiments about AI.

Part A

Both authors approach AI differently from one another. Foster, from a technological sense where "Everything is Possible in the best senses of Possibilities" as versus Harari's "sociologist's approach" to AI by tying it backwards-and-forwards to our psychological and sociological evolutionary development.

One I describe as a positive approach to AI and the other as a negative approach to AI. Both, I believe are warranted, however with Yuval's statements I would disagree with his beliefs in fearing AI. Rather, I would fear the misuse of AI by the tech industry as it engages with human cultural development either positively or negatively.

History tells us what starts out good becomes corrupted later. The Oppenheimer movie speaks to this when addressing the many benefits of studying quantum physics which was shortly turned towards creating nuclear bombs:

Part B

Even as I am diligently developing a processual theology of a creationally driven, pancessual evolution filled with the presence of God infilled with hope and love throughout creation's ontological structures and teleologies (the study of ends and purposes), so I must also face the dark side of creational freedom gone wrong as evidenced in humanities' many disrupting histories to pancessualism.

Love has two sides to it: (i) It may birth liberty and freedom but may also (ii) birth bondage and destruction. Curiously, Love may bless another or it may harm and destroy another (something I call the "dark side of Love gone wrong"). Similar to Einstein's description of temperature in terms of factors of "no heat" or "coldness"; we might also describe sin and evil in terms of factors of "no Love" or "absence of loving."
A God-filled, divine creation is thus and thus fraught with processual tension. This is what is meant by pancessualism tension which may be either a generative process or a cruel and evil process. Whiteheadian prehension, actuality, and concreasence says that every event increases by one acts of value or removes those acts from any further benefit.

Part C

In process theology we might call this panpsychic chasm by its theological name of "theodicy" - which is the study of good and evil and may be resolve either through divine love or it's rejection.

A divine love which is embedded or imbued via a panenthetical creation filled and sustained by divine immanence (without denying the divine Otherness of God). More simply, processual panentheism refers to the abiding divine presence of God with-and-within creation which continually urges all particulates meaningfully forward towards generative forms and expressions of pancessual evolutionary progress. (This is to be distinguished from tradition non-processual theism and the Buddhistic idea of God as world and world as God = pantheism.)

Similarly, it seems that Yuval Harari is asking questions of humanity's cultural development in his Sapiens book and is currently asserting a similar attitude re AI sentience. Whether humanity is generative, non-generative, or some gradient of either depending on how the wind blows. For Yuval, I think it's NOT about the sentient possibility of AI but how humanity will use this technology to it's own destruction.

And when looking back on the many stories of human development I think we can find warrant for Yuval's concerns knowing humanity has misused, abused, and destroyed, all the benefits and beauty it encounters. Which is also very sad and speaks to why the traditional church preaches so much on the topics of sin and evil.

For myself, I wish to uplift the church's present conversation upwards towards a Theology of Love and thereby, perhaps, avoid the motif of religious man becoming what he preaches in his legalistic structures, beliefs, and cultural outcomes.

If we preach love and hate these qualities will eventually become part of who we are. But if we preach love - and learn to see and rebalance ourselves with a loving creation around us - just possibly this small nuanced shift in our attitudes and perspectives might salvifically, if not redemptively, reset humanity towards more loving actions than harmful in our (eco-)cultural developments with one another.


R.E. Slater
June 20, 2023
edited, June 20, 2023
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* * * * * * *


by David Foster

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Generative modeling is one of the hottest topics in AI. It’s now possible to teach a machine to excel at human endeavors such as painting, writing, and composing music. With this practical book, machine-learning engineers and data scientists will discover how to re-create some of the most impressive examples of generative deep learning models, such as variational autoencoders,generative adversarial networks (GANs), encoder-decoder models, and world models.

Author David Foster demonstrates the inner workings of each technique, starting with the basics of deep learning before advancing to some of the most cutting-edge algorithms in the field. Through tips and tricks, you’ll understand how to make your models learn more efficiently and become more creative.

  • Discover how variational autoencoders can change facial expressions in photos
  • Build practical GAN examples from scratch, including CycleGAN for style transfer and MuseGAN for music generation
  • Create recurrent generative models for text generation and learn how to improve the models using attention
  • Understand how generative models can help agents to accomplish tasks within a reinforcement learning setting
  • Explore the architecture of the Transformer (BERT, GPT-2) and image generation models such as ProGAN and StyleGAN


Generative AI is the hottest topic in tech. This practical book teaches machine learning engineers and data scientists how to create impressive generative deep learning models from scratch using Tensorflow and Keras, including variational autoencoders (VAEs), generative adversarial networks (GANs), Transformers, normalizing flows, energy-based models, and denoising diffusion models. The book starts with the basics of deep learning and progresses to cutting-edge architectures. Through tips and tricks, readers can make their models learn more efficiently and become more creative.
  • Discover how VAEs can change facial expressions in photos
  • Train GANs to generate images based on your own dataset
  • Build diffusion models to produce new varieties of flowers
  • Train your own GPT for text generation
  • Learn how large language models like ChatGPT are trained
  • Explore state-of-the-art architectures such as StyleGAN 2 and Vision Transformer VQ-GAN
  • Compose polyphonic music using Transformers and MuseGAN
  • Understand how generative world models can solve reinforcement learning tasks
  • Dive into multimodal models such as DALL.E 2, Imagen and Stable Diffusion for text-to-image generation
The book also explores the future of generative AI and how individuals and companies can proactively begin to leverage this remarkable new technology to create competitive advantage.

0:24 / 2:31:36
Introducing Generative Deep Learning
Future of Generative AI
by David Foster
May 11, 2023

Generative Deep Learning, 2nd Edition [David Foster] https://www.oreilly.com/library/view/...

TOC: Introducing Generative Deep Learning [00:00:00]
Model Families in Generative Modeling [00:02:25]
Auto Regressive Models and Recurrence [00:06:26]
Language and True Intelligence [00:15:07]
Language, Reality, and World Models [00:19:10]
AI, Human Experience, and Understanding [00:23:09]
GPTs Limitations and World Modeling [00:27:52]
Task-Independent Modeling and Cybernetic Loop [00:33:55]
Collective Intelligence and Emergence [00:36:01]
Active Inference vs. Reinforcement Learning [00:38:02]
Combining Active Inference with Transformers [00:41:55]
Decentralized AI and Collective Intelligence [00:47:46]
Regulation and Ethics in AI Development [00:53:59]
AI-Generated Content and Copyright Laws [00:57:06]
Effort, Skill, and AI Models in Copyright [00:57:59]
AI Alignment and Scale of AI Models [00:59:51]
Democratization of AI: GPT-3 and GPT-4 [01:03:20]
Context Window Size and Vector Databases [01:10:31]
Attention Mechanisms and Hierarchies [01:15:04]
Benefits and Limitations of Language Models [01:16:04]
AI in Education: Risks and Benefits [01:19:41]
AI Tools and Critical Thinking in the Classroom [01:29:26]
Impact of Language Models on Assessment and Creativity [01:35:09]
Generative AI in Music and Creative Arts [01:47:55]
Challenges and Opportunities in Generative Music [01:52:11]
AI-Generated Music and Human Emotions [01:54:31]
Language Modeling vs. Music Modeling [02:01:58]
Democratization of AI and Industry Impact [02:07:38]
Recursive Self-Improving Superintelligence [02:12:48]
AI Technologies: Positive and Negative Impacts [02:14:44]
Runaway AGI and Control Over AI [02:20:35]
AI Dangers, Cybercrime, and Ethics [02:23:42]

In this conversation, Tim Scarfe and David Foster, the author of 'Generative Deep Learning,' dive deep into the world of generative AI, discussing topics ranging from model families and auto regressive models to the democratization of AI technology and its potential impact on various industries. They explore the connection between language and true intelligence, as well as the limitations of GPT and other large language models. The discussion also covers the importance of task-independent world models, the concept of active inference, and the potential of combining these ideas with transformer and GPT-style models.

Ethics and regulation in AI development are also discussed, including the need for transparency in data used to train AI models and the responsibility of developers to ensure their creations are not destructive. The conversation touches on the challenges posed by AI-generated content on copyright laws and the diminishing role of effort and skill in copyright due to generative models.

The impact of AI on education and creativity is another key area of discussion, with Tim and David exploring the potential benefits and drawbacks of using AI in the classroom, the need for a balance between traditional learning methods and AI-assisted learning, and the importance of teaching students to use AI tools critically and responsibly.

Generative AI in music is also explored, with David and Tim discussing the potential for AI-generated music to change the way we create and consume art, as well as the challenges in training AI models to generate music that captures human emotions and experiences. 

Throughout the conversation, Tim and David touch on the potential risks and consequences of AI becoming too powerful, the importance of maintaining control over the technology, and the possibility of government intervention and regulation. The discussion concludes with a thought experiment about AI predicting human actions and creating transient capabilities that could lead to doom.

* * * * * * *


by Yuval Noah Harari

0:04 / 41:21
AI and the future of humanity
Yuval Noah Harari at the Frontiers Forum
May 14, 2023

In this keynote and Q&A, Yuval Noah Harari summarizes and speculates on 'AI and the future of humanity'. There are a number of questions related to this discussion, including: "In what ways will AI affect how we shape culture? What threat is posed to humanity when AI masters human intimacy? Is AI the end of human history? Will ordinary individuals be able to produce powerful AI tools of their own? How do we regulate AI?" The event was organized and produced by the Frontiers Forum, dedicated to connecting global communities across science, policy, and society to accelerate global science related initiatives. It was produced and filmed with support from Impact, on April 29, 2023, in Montreux, Switzerland.

Yuval Noah Harari paints a grim picture
of the AI age, roots for safety checks

Celebrated author Yuval Noah Harari believes that AI has
"hacked" the operating system of human civilization.

Yuval Noah Harari warns about AI
The author said that the rise of AI is having a profound impact on society, affecting various aspects of economics, politics, culture, and psychology. (Image: Twitter)
Listen to this article

Artificial intelligence is shaking up the world. While experiments and research in this sub-field of computer science have been ongoing for decades, the recent launch of OpenAI’s powerful chatbot ChatGPT seems to be a seminal point in the timeline of AI technologies. The chatbot’s astounding abilities have led many companies to try their hands at developing their own chatbots or even integrating similar AI in their products and services.

Since time immemorial, new technologies or innovations have witnessed fear and awe before they were embraced by mankind. Most new inventions have been met with shock and apprehension, with many either hailing them or downright condemning them. The ongoing AI wave is no different. While many have heaped praise on it, there is scepticism in equal measure.

Yuval Noah Harari, known for the acclaimed non-fiction book Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind, in his latest article in The Economist, has said that artificial intelligence has “hacked” the operating system of human civilization. The Israeli public intellectual has been known for his comments on the opportunities and threats from AI in recent times.

The root of the fear

In his latest article, he argues that the fear of AI has haunted humanity ever since the beginning of the computer age. However, he said that the newly emerged AI tools in recent years could threaten the survival of human civilization from an “unexpected direction.”

He demonstrated how AI could impact culture by talking about language, which is integral to human culture. “Language is the stuff almost all human culture is made of. Human rights, for example, aren’t inscribed in our DNA. Rather, they are cultural artifacts we created by telling stories and writing laws. Gods aren’t physical realities. Rather, they are cultural artifacts we created by inventing myths and writing scriptures,” wrote Harari.

He stated that democracy is also a language that dwells on meaningful conversations, and when AI hacks language it could also destroy democracy.

The author said that the rise of AI is having a profound impact on society, affecting various aspects of economics, politics, culture, and psychology. The 47-year-old wrote that the biggest challenge of the AI age was not the creation of intelligent tools but striking a collaboration between humans and machines.

To highlight the extent of how AI-driven misinformation can change the course of events, Harari touched upon the cult QAnon, a political movement affiliated with the far-right in the US. QAnon disseminated misinformation via “Q drops” that were seen as sacred by followers.

AI and the power of intimacy

Harari also shed light on how AI could form intimate relationships with people and influence their decisions. “Through its mastery of language, AI could even form intimate relationships with people and use the power of intimacy to change our opinions and worldviews,” he wrote. To demonstrate this, he cited the example of Blake Lemoine, a Google engineer who lost his job after publicly claiming that the AI chatbot LaMDA had become sentient. According to the historian, the controversial claim cost Lemoine his job. He asked if AI can influence people to risk their jobs, what else could it induce them to do?

Harari also said that intimacy was an effective weapon in the political battle of minds and hearts. He said that in the past few years, social media has become a battleground for controlling human attention, and the new generation of AI can convince people to vote for a particular politician or buy a certain product.

The author drew parallels between present-day AI and the notions of the world of illusions by 17th-century philosopher Rene Descartes and the idea of Maya from Buddhist and Hindu sages. Highlighting the need for regulations, Harari cited the example of nuclear energy, stating that while it could produce cheap power, it could also destroy human civilization. However, over the years, we have reshaped the international order to ensure that nuclear technology is used for the collective good.

Regulation is key

In his bid to call attention to the need to regulate AI technology, Harari said that the first regulation should be to make it mandatory for AI to disclose that it is an AI. He said it was important to put a halt on ‘irresponsible deployment’ of AI tools in the public domain, and regulating it before it regulates us.

The author also shed light on the fact that how the current social and political systems are incapable of dealing with the challenges posed by AI. Harari emphasised the need to have an ethical framework to respond to challenges posed by AI.

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The author has, on numerous occasions, shared his thoughts on the rapid developments in AI. In March, Harari wrote an op-ed in The New York Times discussing the rapid progress and implications of GPT-like chatbots and the future of human interactions. He argued that while GPT-3 had made remarkable progress, it was far from replacing human interactions. He also suggested that AI could lead to greater inequality, something which billionaire Bill Gates had alluded to in his blog post.