Saturday, November 08, 2014

Sunday Sermon: God Verses the Internet

Amazon Echo

When I speak to other people  I sometimes ask them what essential features of this world they cannot live without.

In the poorest corners of the developing world of course the answers that I might expect include

Food, Water, Shelter and Warmth, Electricity and Refrigeration.

But also I have frequently received the answer


It seems that God seems to be /a necessary include/ as an explanation, and an appeal to why, via a divine choice of the Almighty; that individual was born into a life of relative hardship, and often pronounced suffering, poverty, illness and premature death.

Ultimately when tragedy strikes; Religion has the explanation which is along the lines of:

Ours is not to reason why,  Our is just to suffer and die.

[apologies Alfred]

And so then, back to the Internet

In 2014 we begin to see the emergence of consumer technology which already begins to cross the boundaries from unlimited knowledge towards intelligence.

Amazon Echo

Windows Cortana

Apple Siri

Google Now

These four assistants rely principally on the backend data stored on the Internet and made accessible and searchable by Google.  On top of that are large applications that parse and try to understand and then reply to your questions.

I would contend that as these digital assistants advance, the majority of us in the developed world will begin to rely more on these Internet services and not on Godly or divine assistance.

Today you might ask Siri the temperature, the travel time to work, and the medical diagnosis from the symptoms of your recent illness.

Tomorrow you might be asking Cortana more existential questions and asking for emotional and metaphysical support.

So, assuming a certain set of Religious zealots don't succeed in returning the whole world to a pre technological age by enforcing a set of Barbaric, Homophobic, and Sexist rules,  and that society actually moves forward:

Let's pose the question.  In 10 years time when I ask you, what is more important to you: for the planet,  and for humanities day to day well-being:

 The Internet or God?

Which would you cast your vote for?