On December 13, 2018 viewers around the world woke up to the news about a clumsy bit of fakery.
It appears that a “state-of-the-art” robot being shown off before students in Russia was not a robot at all. It was nothing more than a man in a very impressive robot costume. And, it is still unclear if presenters at the technology forum were deliberately trying to deceive the students. However, members of the Russia-24 News team took it seriously and reported it as the real thing.
Unfortunately, this report has created a publicity nightmare for the state-run news agency, not to mention for Russia. For it gave the appearance that Russia was caught red-handed trying to pass off a cheap fake as a technological advancement.
Yet, many Russians saw through the masquerade. When the story was posted on social media, replies began to be posted about “gaps” in the costume showing the human skin tones of the person inside. Others noted that the identical costume was for sale by Show Robots, Inc. for 250,000 Rubles (about $3,770).
Amidst all the hoopla and embarrassment this news feature created, something far more unfortunate took place. While jeering this pitiful attempt to show off phony technology, a technological and engineering marvel was overlooked. Just as I did in the first paragraph, news agencies reported that the “robot” was ONLY A HUMAN wearing a costume.
Only a human being–capable of self-awareness, creative genius, love, empathy, joy, sorrow, faith, and communion with God–was wearing a robot costume. Honestly, the man in the costume did a far better job impersonating a robot than any robot will ever do impersonating a human. And isn’t that all robots can ever do—impersonate. Obviously, human beings are the standard that scientists hope to reach with robot technology.
And although advanced robots can perform some motor movements and mathematical equations nearly as good, or better, than human beings, they are completely inept at 99.99% of other human capabilities. Firstly, robots cannot reproduce in their own likeness. Secondly, robots cannot heal broken parts. Thirdly, robots cannot recharge themselves by means of a pleasure process of eating and drinking. Also, robots cannot experience passion or exercise self-restraint. Robots cannot enjoy friendship, or music, or art, or anything. Robots cannot experience parental love or demonstrate self-sacrifice or display altruistic feelings. Finally, robots cannot hope or have faith or hunger for God.
You see, although human beings are fabulously designed engineering and technological marvels, they are far more than that. They are also spirit beings, meshed together with physical bodies. Our human spirits are the most unexplored, yet the far greater portion and more complex portion of our being. Yes. Even though our bodies are incredibly complex arrangements of 7 octillion atoms, 37.5 trillion living cells, 100 billion neurons, 60,000 miles of arteries and veins, 600 muscles, and 206 bones–yet the human spirit within us is the far greater and more complex part of our being.
Never Match God
Perhaps, someday robotics will advance enough to mimic most of the human physical functions. But what will that prove? Won’t it merely demonstrate all the creative thinking, development, and refinement which has already gone into the human body? Won’t it prove that a Superior Intelligence must exist in order to have created us?
But no invention of mankind can ever match the spiritual portion of those created in God’s image. The human spirit is the part of us that God recreates when we believe in the gospel message and which He renews day by day through His holy word and life-giving Spirit. And the human spirit is the only thing which we will take from this life into the next. Our physical body will deteriorate and die. Our possessions will be left to others. And our achievements will be forgotten. But our human spirit—which we will either neglect, starve and desecrate in this life or, feed, nurture, and develop in this life—will continue on for all eternity.
Perhaps the real news-worthy wonder is not the robot, but the human being who made him. Maybe the true marvel is the man inside the robot costume, rather than the robot he was substituting for. Yes, the incredible human being—the object of God the Father’s love and the Son of God’s redemption—is the one who deserves our courtesy, honor, and respect. Better yet, our infinite and eternal Creator is deserving of our honor, love, and obedience. And isn’t that the very heart of our faith? To love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength—and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Deuteronomy 6:5; 10:12; 11:13; 13:3; 30:6; Joshua 22:5; Matthew 22:37–38; Mark 12:30–31; Luke 10:27)?
Dear Father in heaven, please open my eyes to see the gross error of my ways. I have been overlooking, neglecting, and abusing all those who are worthy of my honor and adoration – my own soul, others created in Your image, and You above all. Forgive my sins. Heal my blindness. And soften my hardened and calloused heart. Help me to love You and all Your have created in Your image. Amen.