The recent popularity of chatGPT and its seemingly amazing conversational capabilities has rapidly moved the subject of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the forefront of public discourse in many societies. While many famous thinkers have warned of the dangers of AI, numerous universities and companies are racing to develop software applications and hardware platforms to advance the frontiers of automation, and robotics in fields as diverse as agriculture, manufacturing, education or health care and everything else in between. The emerging methodologies can produce highly damaging results or conversely superbly useful outcomes. The ethical questions that arise call for a thorough examination of fundamental assumptions about human nature, value systems and our visions of a just and prosperous world society. Bahá’í teachings have a lot to say about all this at the level of principle. More particularly, the conceptual framework for study and action developed by the Bahá’í world community during the past two decades can be directly applied to the methods and approaches for the generation and dissemination of knowledge about this subject. Currently various governing bodies find themselves poorly equipped to legislate on the uses or abuses of AI. We will review both the history of the recent developments in AI and the Bahá’í conceptual framework and we will show how our societies can advance towards achieving coherence between the material and spiritual aspects of social and economic development.
Farzin Aghdasi was a long time Bahá’í pioneer in Africa and intimately involved in training institute development in southern Africa and North America. During his 19 years in southern Africa he was a university professor in engineering. In the US he served as a Continental Counselor for the Americas, and. is now the secretary of the Regional Bahá’í Council. He holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering with specialization in computer vision and artificial intelligence. Currently he works in a large AI company in Silicon Valley, California.
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