April 1, 2021
Volume 25, Number 13
A few days ago a piece of art sold for $688,888. That amount may seem odd, but that’s not nearly as odd as how the art was created. The “artist” is Sophia, a humanoid robot that worked in collaboration with Italian painter Andrea Bonaceto. Also adding to the oddity of this sale is that it was transacted using Non-Fungible Tokens, a sort of cryptocurrency that I don’t even begin to understand.
Sophia, “who” produced the painting, is pretty amazing. Designed by David Hanson of Hong Kong’s Hanson Robotics, videos show Sophia speaking, gesturing, blinking, turning – many things that real people do. Robotics is advancing in sophistication, and there seems to be little doubt we’ll be seeing more of them in the future.
The fact we must keep in mind, however, is that Sophia is a creation. This robot did not suddenly appear out of nowhere. “Her” ability to paint was programmed into her system, as were all other functions this robot carries out. Sophia is a result of intelligent design, and I don’t question the intelligence of Hanson and others who make robots.
“Sophia”, as you may know, means “wisdom”. Here’s an important fact about wisdom, written long ago by the wisest man on earth (Solomon): “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). Those who refuse to accept the reality of God demonstrate the most extreme form of poverty of wisdom (see Psalm 14:1).
Genesis 1:27 proclaims who it was that created all robot-creators: “So God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Robots are impressive, but can they heal when a malfunction occurs? Can they reproduce themselves, or are they dependent on the robot builders for that? When these machines wear out, is there anything about them that goes into eternity?
David knew nothing about robots. He was likely a shepherd living in primitive times when he wrote Psalm 8: “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth … When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit Him?” (Psalm 8:1,3-4).
David was in awe of the created things around him, just as I am in awe of these robots, computer programs, rocket ships, etc. But, like David, I see beyond the created things the One who only is worthy of worship and honor. God is the source of true sophia.
Be in awe of the things people create. But be more in awe of the One who “gives to all life, breath, and all things” (Acts 17:25). He doesn’t auction His works – He gives them!
Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.
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Copyright, 2021, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).
“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.
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