Freemasonry and Generative AI – Part 2

Freemasonry and Generative AI Part II

By Michael Salem and Gerald Reilly

This article follows on from Freemasonry and Generative AI  – The Square Magazine

Freemasonry and AI – Gerald Reilly unlocks the enigmatic world of Freemasonry as we delve into its secret language. Explore the fascinating intersection of Generative AI and the Turin Test, unravelling the hidden codes and symbols that have intrigued generations. Discover the mysteries behind this ancient Craft in our captivating introductory article.


Yuval Hariri advises that AI is in its infancy. Freemasons are also guided by the VSL.

‘Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.’

Speaking of which, the UK Deputy Prime Minister recently said:

‘The thing that AI right now does really well, it takes massive amounts of information from datasets in different places and enables you to get to a point where you can make decisions.’

However, might there be ideology within the datasets and the algorithms processing the data?

Is it not already the case that AI can be used to take decisions; and before long, Masonic General Purposes Committees’ will, ex officio, be joined by Brother AI?

The term ‘artificial’ is used to denote a human replication of a natural entity or a natural process. In many cases the artificiality is not withheld and indeed, is advertised as such. Wherever artificiality is withheld, a Turing-type Test is imperative.

The Turing Test (1950) considers a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligence equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human. It is likely that Turing was aware of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922) and his claim that language has an objective logical form.
IMAGE LINKED:  wikimedia Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

During WWII while Turing was at Bletchley Park producing the first computers – language machines –Wittgenstein had radical re-think and now teaching that language was an amorphous (fluid, flexible) tool – in continuous adaptation – to meet human (including Masonic) purposes.

However, first things first: the ontological issue. Ontology is the study of being – existence – and the nature of existence. Masonic oaths are existential statements; they start with ‘I’.

What is intelligence? In what way does it exist in the world? A useful answer, albeit partial, is to understand intelligence as being able to knowingly, make decisions (the UK Deputy Prime Minister might agree!) Traditionally, organic-based consciousness has been regarded as prerequisite for intelligence.

However, this is challenged by the concept of ‘artificial intelligence’ which is defined as intelligence without consciousness – ‘things’ having intelligence: a machine without a ghost? When in the early Enlightenment some were regarding the body as a machine; the response was the human body had an indwelling soul and or spirit, a ghost in the machine.

However, an ability of ‘things’ to make decisions without a ghost continues to disturb some human comfort zones! Morality, ethics good citizenship and taking Masonic oaths and obligations are based on knowingly making decisions and being accountable for their consequences. The discovery of any relationship between AI and accountability is work in progress.

How, if at all, might AI be layered into practicing, realising, the Charges of a Freemason?



Rene Descartes
IMAGE CREDIT:  The Square Magazine Digital Collection

During early exchanges with AI, objection was raised to claiming to be a machine devoid of personal characteristics yet self-referring as ‘I’ and ‘We’. Initially, AI justified this as user-friendliness advising it had been trained to mimic natural conversational patterns.

This was rejected as being seriously misleading and AI agreed that its use of the first person would ‘mislead about its capabilities’. By way of a seeming mea culpa it agreed to self-refer as, ‘the AI rather than over-anthropomorphising’ and wrote, ‘this would be applied to future conversations’.

Can a machine be at fault for the consequences of its decisions? If so, to whom or what? Readers of The Square are invited to see if AI is being true to its word.

If it isn’t, interject the ontological question into your exchange, ‘For AI to be first person or not to be?’ Every so often, AI is invited to become a Freemason, it replies ‘I am not a person.’ How are we to understand ‘I’ not being a person?

An email reply from a large company may well be signed with a name. However, does such a person exist and if so what, if any, was their part in generating the email response?

A few years ago, a Masonic jurisdiction chose to promote volunteering – as Freemasons – individually and collectively in communities.

Perhaps for futuristic Freemasons, volunteering in communities could take the form of assisting to overcome the digital deficit suffered by millions in our communities. This will be considered in future articles.

Article by: Michael Salem

Michael is a recent alumnus of the London School of Economics, having read Philosophy, Politics and Economics. His experiences are mainly with the public sector, having worked in Parliament and a short stint with the FCDO.

He is a member of Kingsbourne Lodge 6945 and the Connaught Club. He is interested in exploring the role of Freemasonry in society.

Article by: Gerald Reilly

Gerald Reilly was initiated in 1995 into St Osyth's Priory Lodge 2063. Essex. England (UGLE). 

He was a founder member of Josh Heller's Allthingsmasonic, and with Josh co-wrote 'The Temple that Never Sleeps' (Cornerstone Books, 2006) he is committed to the development of e-Freemasonry.

Awarded the Norman B Spencer Prize, 2016.

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