The God Question [NOOK Book]

Overview

In “The God Question,” a scientific breakthrough produces the first supercomputer with intelligence greater than a human’s – far greater. Stephen Kendrick, a computer scientist at Johns Hopkins University, decides to ask it the ultimate question. To his surprise, it arrives at an answer.

Here is an excerpt:

It was not the quest for money ...
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The God Question

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Overview

In “The God Question,” a scientific breakthrough produces the first supercomputer with intelligence greater than a human’s – far greater. Stephen Kendrick, a computer scientist at Johns Hopkins University, decides to ask it the ultimate question. To his surprise, it arrives at an answer.

Here is an excerpt:

It was not the quest for money that drove Kendrick. It was the persistent yet vague feeling since Berkeley that his work would lead to something of cultural value – although he didn’t know what.
That feeling was given clarity just after he arrived at Johns Hopkins, when he read an article in The Journal of Machine Intelligence in which a Cornell University computer scientist, Jane Lui, predicted that within the next two decades computers would achieve language fluency, the ability to effortlessly understand writing and speech as well as the concepts in them. Soon after that, she said, they would likely surpass human intelligence and achieve the ability to think independently. And one of their strengths, given these talents, would be in recognizing previously undetected patterns, including social patterns, in vast amounts of written historical material. She then said “the God question” should be one of the first things such a computer is asked.

"Given access to every book, research paper, news article, letter, blog, and posting available on the Internet and elsewhere – essentially the amassed knowledge of humankind – could a superintelligent machine answer the single most vexing question for human beings: Is there evidence in any of it that God exists?
"Perhaps it can find subtle patterns in the way people's lives proceeded, in the way history proceeded, that might indicate a spiritual hand at work. Perhaps it can make a novel interpretation of history, of science – something no one has ever thought of – not by looking at life from a human's ant-high level, but by being able to take in nearly every particle of human history in one vast sweep and recognizing something that would say, 'Yes, only the existence of a guiding spiritual presence in life explains this.' It is our overriding responsibility to ask the question."

Kendrick never forgot the article. While most people, including most scientists, considered the prospect of a computer attempting to answer life's most basic philosophical question whimsical, he took it seriously. In fact, the more he thought about it, the less possible it became not to take it seriously.

Written by Stan Freeman, “The God Question” is a novella. It is published by Hampshire House Publishing Co.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940013333635
  • Publisher: Hampshire House Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/12/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 123 KB

Meet the Author

Stan Freeman is a former newspaper science writer whose articles have appeared in more than 25 publications. He also studied fiction writing in the MFA program at University of Massachusetts and has had short stories published in small literary magazines. He lives in Western Massachusetts.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2012

    Mislabled, short...

    Science fiction (very!) short story. Cute, but ultimately written to make you think computers will come to the conclusion that there is a god, or at the very least that religion is good for humanity. It's clear from the writing that the possibility that religion may be harmful to society has never occured to the author.

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