Artificial Intelligence is Helping People Determine the Cause of Religious Violence

Mike MacKenzie is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The study found humans to be a naturally peaceful species.

Humanity is not a naturally violent species. An Oxford University collaboration has attempted to use artificial intelligence to understand the causes of religious violence. The study also aims to try to understand what to do to control it.

The study was built around a question asked by many. Are human beings naturally violent? The study also aimed to find out whether different circumstances such as religion can make people fear groups of people they deem to be foreign and strange.

The study has found human beings are naturally a peaceful species. However, there are a couple of situations in which they become willing to encourage violence. This is most likely to happen when other people go against their core beliefs which shape their identity.

One of the researchers, Justin E. Laned, has explained almost the entire general public is familiar with AI when you talk about machine learning to automate human tasks. Their use of AI is different from this because it uses a type of AI called multi-agent AI which creates a psychologically realistic model of a human being. It simulates how a human being thinks and what’s even more interesting, how a human identifies with different groups. This type of AI is crucial to answering questions such as why a particular person identifies as Christian, Muslim or Jewish.

Creating this AI hasn’t been a simple task for the researchers as they have compiled many theories of cognitive psychology. The theories are essential for the AI to learn how to mimic how a human being naturally thinks and processes information. There is plenty of information that compares a human being's mind to a computer program. It isn’t a new idea at all. However, this is the first time that people have taken this information and programmed it into a computer. Up until recently, it has been an analogy, but it is now a reality.

Laned has said researchers should model human psychology and model the AI which tackles these problems after it. This is because human psychology is the building block for culture as well as religion. Figuring out the root causes of religious violence lies in our ability to understand how our minds process the information that is presented to it by the world.

When human beings understand what causes conflict, they will be able to use the model to contain and minimize conflict.


Follow the Conversation on Twitter