By Dr. John O. Hunter
We do not need lessons from an elite band of strategic philosophers or fake news artists or movie stars, dull as ditch water. We have in our history groups that exemplify crossing over heroically from tragedy to exoneration and new life purpose and national pride. Some of this history lies with Native American tribes, unfortunately almost completely unknown to the public.
Crazy Horse and Chief Joseph were patriots as honed to the ideas of freedom, liberty and justice as any of the founders of the new nation. Their tragedy stems from the white invaders’ belief that they and their way of life had to be crushed in order that the new nation might spread and flourish. Thus ensued America’s genocidal movement that none of the Founding Fathers would have approved.
On the walls of the library of Ogalala Lakota College in Kyle, South Dakota there is an impressive array of photographs of Ogalala young men who served their country in the military forces.
This is a remarkable story. These young Indian Braves began to call America their country, honor the flag, and join the U.S. military less than a generation after Wounded Knee and the end of the massacres. Stories of their courage in combat despite prejudice against them are intriguing and inspiring.
In the last century Native Americans consistently sent more men per capita into the U. S. Armed Forces than any other racial or ethnic group.
One Indian war story that stirred my heart is about Private Clarence Spotted Wood from North Dakota. He was born in 1914, entered the Army in 1942, went overseas in August 1944, and was killed December 21, 1944 in Luxembourg. On January 28, 1945 a memorial service was held in his honor. He had instructed his tribe: ” If I should be killed and you have a memorial service, I want soldiers to go ahead with the American flag, I want cowboys to follow, all on horseback, I want one of the cowboys to lead the wildest of our horses with saddle and bridle on, I will be riding that horse.” The service was carried out according to his instructions.
My conclusion is that the warrior spirit strong in the blood and culture of the Plains Indians could not die but was transferred to the service of the people who had taken their lands. This may not seem rational or just to those who want logical explanations, but we serve a God of surprises who allows Truth to wind its own path whatever our intentions.
Ray Kurzweil is one of the most brilliant innovaters I know. He is among that band of experts who are bringing us Artificial General Intelligence. Their work explains the coming event of Singularity when the exponential increase of intelligence in self-actualizing machines crosses over to dominance. If/when it occurs, the Singularity threatens to either corrupt or end human nature — as we know it — but not to despair, we are more than brain and body — God will not die! And human intellect will survive, however transformed. Biological humans will not be outpaced by the AI’s because they (we) will enhance themselves (ourselves) with AI, as we are now doing! With our complex systems we are not in an AI winter.
This is in accord with Kurzweil’s interpretation: “It will not be us versus the machines, whether the machines are our enemies or lovers, but rather, we will enhance our own capacity by merging with our intelligent creations.”
The only real question is, where will God be?
Kurzweil’s AI opus, Her, was written and produced as a movie by Spike Jonze. Joaquin Phoenix played the lonely, needy and nerdy protagonist, Theodore, and Scarlett Johansen provided the sultry and seductive voice for Samantha, the OS. As a couple Theodore and Samantha have their differences which as with many romantic stories provides a dramatic tension. The most significant difference is that he has a body and she does not.
In other words, Samantha is a computer! Some folks cannot grasp that because there are devices to make her appear human.
Think about this for a while! How would you like to live in that world? Don’t worry, or get excited, you probably won’t, but your children might.
And think about this: A kid in Africa with a smart phone has instant access to more knowledge than the President of the United States (or your arrogant left wing professor) had just 20 years ago. That’s the kind of thing Thomas Friedman likes to think about, and his comp is not necessarily wrong, I just think he’s not as high in the trees as he pretends to be and doesn’t really have “all the dots connected in the real world.” But then who does?
The better course of action and faith is to stay humble.