Anxiety Makes Humanity Unique

Eric Chinski at the Paris Review, has a great interview with Brian Christian, author of The Most Human Human: What Talking with Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive.

The article is a fascinating look at the interaction between humans, computers and AI (artificial intelligence)…and a probing look at what makes us human. Brian won ‘The Most Human Human’ award…which is basically this:

The Most Human Human is an award given out each year at the Loebner Prize, the artificial intelligence (AI) community’s most controversial and anticipated annual competition. The event is what’s called a Turing test, in which a panel of judges conducts a series of five-minute-long chat conversations over a computer with a series of real people and with a series of computer programs pretending to be people by mimicking human responses. The catch, of course, is that the judges don’t know at the start who’s who, and it’s their job in five minutes of conversation to try to find out.

But in the midst of this article, this statement jumped off the page at me…


“humans appear to be the only things anxious about what makes them unique”

What if anxiety not only makes us human, but what if anxiety is a gift? A gift that reminds us of our humanity. A gift that reminds us of our freedom. A gift that reminds us to pursue the God who uniquely created us. Created us to live with anxiety in order that we may continually seek after and depend on him.

1 Comment

  1. by Brent Lyons on May 25, 2012  2:51 pm Reply

    Rhett - I just wanted to thank you for writing _The Anxious Christian_. I have to be honest, it's probably been almost 2 years since I read a book by someone living today (I've been almost solely devoted to reading church fathers/doctors, etc). I somehow stumbled onto your book while looking for Kierkegaard's _The Concept of Anxiety_. I just wanted to say, coming directly off of almost 2 years of pure classic works, I was shocked to find your book in the same league.

    I've dealt with anxiety for some time, and while I've found "giving in" to anxiety partially successful, I now see I was missing the other half of the equation: God actually using anxiety for good! Your approach is as insightful as many concepts I've read in classics from Athanasius to CS Lewis.

    Thanks again, and please continue writing :)

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