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DR. JIM DENISON, PRESIDENT
AUGUST 19, 2011

Replacing your brain

This headline caught my eye today: “IBM produces first ‘brain chips.'” The company claims that it has developed a microprocessor which comes closer than ever to recreating the emotion, perception, sensation, and cognition of our brains.

The problem with artificial intelligence has been that it cannot replicate our ability to learn by creating new synaptic connections between brain cells. A machine cannot solder and break its electrical tracks. IBM claims that its new processor comes close, however, by paying more and less “attention” to signals based on their relevance to existing and new tasks. Skeptics are cautious, arguing that true cognition requires a level of consciousness unavailable through mere adaptation.

This scenario sounds like the stuff of science fiction movies, but when I was the age of my sons I could not have imagined an Internet and all the ways it has changed our lives. It doesn’t seem such a speculative leap to envision a world populated by machines as capable of creative thinking as you and me.

If such an invention emerges one day, it won’t change this fact: You were engineered by a Creator far more intelligent than the most sophisticated machines our world will ever see. An artificial brain might be able to anticipate the future more accurately than you or I can, but our Maker sees tomorrow as it really is. He is not bound by space or time, so “Saturday” is as real to him as “Friday” is to us.

A machine might become smarter than us, but no earthly intelligence can rival God’s mind: “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8). God’s intelligence exceeds mine on a scale which dwarfs my intellectual superiority over the ants in my backyard.

Two applications encourage me this morning. The first is that I can trust my Father’s word and will, for it is the product of true omniscience. Wherever he leads me today is the best place for me to be, no matter what objections my finite, fallen brain might make. I will do well to pray with David, “I delight to do your will, O my God” (Psalm 40:8).

The second is that I am more valuable than anything I can create. Just as Warren Buffett’s personal investment strategy is undoubtedly superior to mine, so my design is superior to anything humans can make, for I was engineered by the greatest single Mind in the universe. No matter how much the world may depreciate me today, I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). So are you.

What decisions or discouragement are you facing this morning? This assertion seems reasonable: The wiser we are, the more we will seek wisdom superior to our own. Whose wisdom will you trust today?

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