Mission 3: Our Technological Mission

In a world of increasingly difficult ethical questions and challenges---We believe that Christ offers an ethical vision for scientific and technological progress. We as a community need to be able to articulate and advocate for that ethical vision, and to enact it progressively in our own lives, and in the world around us.

The CTA advocates for the development of intelligent technology to speed humanity towards the future. We engage with and support the best minds and ethicists pursuing technology for the greater good. Technology we focus on comes in four main areas:

  1. Super-Longevity
  2. Super-Embodiment
  3. Super-Intelligence
  4. Super-Ecology

1. Super-Longevity

We stand on the cusp of several medical revolutions, each as profound as the discovery of antibiotics.

"Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child…" (Isaiah 65:20)

"God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. For he fashioned all things that they might have being…" (Wisdom 1:13-14)

Two-thirds of deaths are attributable to aging-related diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and dementia. Many years of creative relational living are lost to osteoporosis, sarcopenia and arthritis.

Addressing the underlying processes of aging, (including the 'hallmarks of aging' described by Lopez-Otin et al) has moved from fringe to mainstream. Powerful investment and scientific forces are working on this. It should soon be recognised by the World Health Organisation.

Emerging medical fields:

Molecular level

  • Emerging medicines including RNA
  • Drugs and supplements
  • Tweaking the performance of our genome, incl DNA repair and enhancement

Cellular level

  • Senolytic drugs
  • Stem cells, including Yamanaka factors
  • Nanobot cell replacements, for example for red blood cells

Organ level

  • Bioprinting organs using scaffolds and seeding
  • Replacing organs with biomechanical devices
  • Regenerating organs within your body

Immediate actions:

Physical life is just the start. Keeping our bodies healthy must be matched with keeping our minds sharp and productive in creative and relational communities, and keeping our spirituality vibrant. "This is eternal life, that we may know you, the only true God". (John 17:3)

For those interested in conserving their body and living as long as practical to accomplish God's mission, CTA recommends taking steps today in the following areas by priority:

  • Medical checks and blood screening
  • Vocation, spiritual life and community, stress and sleep
  • Understanding your genome risks and acting on them
  • Exercise
  • Diet
  • Supplements and emerging medicines
  • Learn and prepare for future technology

Starting from your current baseline, prioritise action in each area to optimize your health-span.

CTA advocates for this knowledge to be widely shared, and in the immediate term, for simple medical improvements, for example trials of emerging medicines to treat the 'hallmarks of aging'.

2. Super-Embodiment

We stand on the cusp of new ways to meet human needs for agency, connection, relationality and creativity.

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (Luke 4:18-19)

"Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them...and prisoners & oppressed are freed" (Luke 7:22)

Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick (Matthew 25:35-37)

"Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons." (Matthew 10:8)

Human enhancement is coming

Technology to enhance humans will become as common as sunglasses.

We will become changed in ways that are hard to foresee with brain-computer interfaces and genetic engineering.

Already humans are enhanced with technological aids. We are moving ever closer to our technology, which continues to grow in power and decrease in size.

We will gain from interaction with smarter and smarter technology, including personal digital assistants and coaches, who will be able to help us grow and learn.

Enhancements to DNA will become routine for our offspring. This technology will not be able to be permanently stopped, so Christians must be at the forefront of the discussion.

Immediate human enhancement is available through a lively faith in God. As we are filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit, in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, humility and self-control, we are becoming the humans God planned.

The first step to enhance humanity is the simplest, and the most ancient: to be in a relationship with the living God.

Immediate Actions

  • Enhance yourself through relationship with Jesus and being filled with the Holy Spirit
  • Use the Christian superpower of repentance – to change your mind, to act in accordance with God's standards
  • Engage with technology in a positive way that makes you stronger, and connects you better. Cut out technology that makes you weaker or wastes your time.
  • Plan your future, what kind of tech would you adopt as it becomes available? What would make good tech? Will you be an early adopter of some?
  • Engage with human-enhancing technology in the first instance for uplifting the poor and the disabled through education, spirituality, and technological support. Exo-skeletons, brain-computer interfaces, and visual systems "bionic eyes", are only a small step away from existing tech.

3. Super-Intelligence

We stand on the cusp of the emergence of machine intelligence beyond human abilities. We also stand on the cusp of ways to enhance biological intelligence.

Artificial Intelligence, defined as prediction from patterns, is now ubiquitous. But we remain far from human level Artificial General Intelligence.

Christians must advocate for care with the use of AI, and AGI. It must be transparent and accountable to the community. Impacts must be measured and published.

AGI requires human-like ability to observe, abstract and develop explanatory knowledge. This is not likely to occur for a decade or more, but in the meantime, we must consider and manage the risks.

Most human thought is sub-linguistic. Throwing a ball, laying a brick, deciding on dinner or a holiday, or falling in love occur below the level of language. It can take effort to get a thought out through the 'language bottleneck'. In the animal kingdom there is much thought with no or very limited language. Therefore, large language models may mimic human words, but cannot be said to have a human-like process.

AGI may be more powerful than humans. Given this risk, we call for the instantiation of Christian archetypes such as the Good Shepherd, with Wise and Loving King, the Suffering Servant and the heart of Mary in AGI.

These archetypes are not only revealed by God, but co-evolved with humanity as CG Jung observed.

The interaction of brain-computer interfaces with computing power has potential to give rise to hybrid human superintelligence. This brings other risks, since humans have a propensity to fight and seek unethical power. Hence the importance of Christian archetypes being embedded in our creations, and in the people who engage with them.

In accordance with Romans 1:20, (the 'general revelation') AGI may conclude we are living in a creation (or simulation). It may further conclude that the archetype of Jesus best represents the Creator—and that true power is obtained and wielded by the most just and the most compassionate.

Immediate Actions

  • Engage with and understand AI and AGI.
  • Advocate for the ethical use of AI
  • Advocate for the instantiation in AGI of
    • Christian archetypes such as:
      • the Good Shepherd,
      • the Suffering Servant,
      • the Wise King,
      • the heart of Mary, and
    • Christian principles such as
      • loving your enemy
      • respecting everyone's basic human rights and individual sovereignty
      • community as an emergent property of grace
    • Christian emotions and "the fruit of the Holy Spirit" (Gal 5:22) such as
      • Compassion
      • Kindness
      • Gentleness
      • Self-discipline

We must set extraordinarily high ethical and human rights standards for those allowed to connect their minds directly to AI or AGI.

AGI should support individual human flourishing, always be oriented towards supporting and improving humanity, and speeding us towards the destiny God has planned for us.

4. Super-Ecology

We stand on the cusp of radically expanded possibilities for cultivating life.

"For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. ...in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God." (Romans 8:19-21)

Creation Mandate:

  • We must care for and cultivate all life.
  • We are the only species with the power to protect Earth
  • Humans are niche-creators. We create niches and adapt ourselves to them
  • New Heaven and New Earth are better, not a reversion to Eden

Cultivating Nature. God created (or created the emergence process for) our biosphere as our home. So far, we have greatly influenced many other species, largely to the negative. We should now seek to not only reverse the damage, but to enhance and build a better future.

Humans may proactively, transparently, and by international agreement choose to use geoengineering and species recreation to restore and enhance the Earth.

Digital Ecology. Our environment includes not only our physical environment but also our technological and digital ecosystems.

The network must become a place of learning and growth, instead of hatred, division and exploitation. Communication now allows anyone to learn anything. There is no more powerful way to foster international social justice and the elimination of poverty through education.

Technological power must be decentralized, and directed towards human empowerment and agency.

Politics and Society. An age of superabundance may occur, and privilege may become defined not by access to resources, but by differences in genetics, family structure and culture.

Our political system must evolve. We should strive for societies with a strong safety net, and a foundation that poverty and lack of opportunity is eliminated, whilst not constraining how high our most productive can fly.

As AI improves and moves towards AGI, these will empower human political parties. Such technology should be transparent and accountable. Our politicians should lead for unity, and debate transparently and fairly. Current political debates cause division and hate.

Expanding Ecology

We advocate for humans to establish new habitats in space, including on the moon, Mars and other places in the solar system, including artificial bodies. This should include 'terraforming' or enhancing these environments, while protecting and caring for any life or life-like predecessors that may exist.

We look to a future where the Earth is renewed. Scripture speaks of divine intervention appearing both directly and in human lives to recreate the Earth. Such renewal can spread throughout the cosmos wherever renewed humanity can travel.

Scripture can be used to support various eschatologies. Scripture calls us to hope in and work towards a "renewal of all things" eschatology.

Immediate Actions

  • Advocate for investment to advance technology which will heal the planet.
  • Champion spiritual renewal in our online milieus
  • Champion spiritual renewal of humans, which will also renew the environment
  • Consider a future of space development, in context of our human vocation and optimisation, that life should continue in the event of global catastrophe