In a world driven by technological advancements and the now ever-evolving landscape of artificial intelligence, it’s crucial for Christians to explore this realm through the lens of their faith. In today’s episode, we will embark on a journey to understand Artificial Intelligence (AI) from a Biblical worldview. As we do, we need to be reminded of the timeless truths that serve as the foundation of our faith, thinking and practice in life.
Proverbs 2:6 (ESV) tells us, “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Indeed, wisdom and discernment are essential virtues as we delve into the world of AI.
We will embark on a thought-provoking exploration of Artificial Intelligence, examining what it is, its role in the church, and much more. We will seek to uncover the Biblical truths and principles that can guide us in our interactions with Artificial Intelligence.
What Is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
More recent definitions say it is the “theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence.” Another definition calls it the “simulation of human intelligence by machines, especially computer systems.” (TGC)
It’s exactly what it’s called…. “ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE”.
I do not believe that computers will not be able to, with their artificial intelligence, be able to replicate feelings, in a true, realistic, human way. Feelings and emotions play a part a large part in not in intelligence, but in how we as humans respond to the knowledge, information and data coming to us.
Should I Be Scared of Artificial Intelligence?
Now, it is very important to note that we are not at “Terminator” levels of AI today! There are not robots taking over the world…YET! One day, almost for sure, there will be a major increase of not just robots, but their capabilities that mimic (not replicate), you and I.
Here is a thought from Joel Jacob, in an article that he wrote for the Gospel Coalition:
We ought not be scared, yet we need to be thoughtful because it’s a powerful and almost untapped, limitless technology that is right before us! Remember when scientists at the Manhattan Project created the atomic bomb? When the first tests were done, they were shocked to realize what they’d created. It’s kind of the same with AI, and whoever is ahead in this new technology race will have a powerful edge over those who are behind. (Joel Jacob)
Joel goes on to say that it’s similar to how the bridge was created.
The bridge is something that is NECESSARY for our society, but in its early days, bridges collapsed easily and people got hurt. But that didn’t mean that the development of the bridge stopped. It continued, and our society couldn’t function without them. (Joel Jacob)
Artificial intelligence is as dangerous as the people who program the computers. It’s not AI and computers that you should be afraid of, but the worldview and the ideology of those who program them. For example, ChatGPT, it’s the people behind the software that program it, and they have an ideology that informs the software.
AI is not the enemy! AI today reveals the thoughts, ideology, and processing of those in charge of it. What AI spits out is potentially a symptom of a bigger problem. YES…It can really truly help people. But YES…it can also be used to distort and destroy.
What Are Some Benefits of Using Artificial Intelligence?
- It is much easier to find and analyze information! It can happen EXTREMELY fast.
- Aids in learning. Artificial intelligence can help determine a student’s learning style. It can also help to prepare personalized curricula or lesson plans that work.
- It can summarize huge amounts of data very quickly
- Can aid in research (new drugs or techniques)
- Can spot diseases in its earliest stage of development, better than a real doctor could. New AI patch for those with high risk of breast cancer, where it images the breast regularly and sends data in real time to teams to evaluate.
- Can automate certain tasks that can save hours or days of time on different projects or tasks. Computer coding is one of the many things that AI can produce, and it does so at lightning speed.
- When created in an unbiased manner, artificial intelligence can process and analyze data and detect patterns that humans may otherwise miss.
- With the help of artificial intelligence, human error can be minimized and, in some cases, eliminated.
- Human emotion and thought have the tendency to affect decision-making in many ways. Artificial intelligence, on the other hand, runs on pure logic and data — no emotions involved whatsoever. The result is another one of the advantages of artificial intelligence: AI can help humans make smarter decisions, faster.
What Are Some Negatives of Using Artificial Intelligence?
- The responses of AI may not be true to your beliefs and convictions. Remember, today’s AI is based on what the programmers feed into it, as in where to get the research and what to eliminate or ignore in research.
- Generating content with AI (such as resumes, letters, blogs) will lead to an average output (at best). AI cannot produce, today, anything that is unique or personable. It comes across as robotic in feeling and processing, mostly because it is robotic!
- Using AI very well can lead to laziness in research. When one could write or research something, they could choose to short-cut it and have it done artificially. If done today, it will show as AI, but in days to come, as AI gets better, it may not be as easily picked up.
- It deteriorates the creativity and workload of the creative arts (graphics, music, film, etc…)
- It can provide wrong information and data.
- It can make up “facts” just to solve the query that you are searching.
- It knows what is socially considered right and wrong, but it does not know the absolute truth.
Does Artificial Intelligence Pose a Threat to The Church?
When truth becomes relative, AI will use post-truth and post-modern types of responses. When we can’t trust anything that we see in the world, due to AI, people will flock to what they CAN know to be true. It is then that the Bible will become even more relevant, and we will see the Power of God’s Word shine brighter than ever before!
As a Church, we must be really good at identifying truth. Remember what the truth does?
- “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32, NIV84)
- AI may bring about bondage…but THE TRUTH…the Lord’s truth will set you free!
Another thing to note is that if a teacher or Pastor in the church uses AI for formulating talking points/messages/sermons, it, over time, will be noticeable.
Does Artificial Intelligence Pose a Threat to my Investments?
AI could create ways to manage risk or to be able to grow investments under certain conditions and parameters. If everyone uses AI, and they’re all using the same algorithm, and the algorithm says, “sell”, we could have financial carnage if everyone automatically sells a particular stock or industry just because AI said so. Companies could go completely out of business just because AI controls how money is invested. Because this is an up-and-coming discussion and feature of AI, we have chosen to in our next episode to talk about this with detail.
At the same time, AI is already, and will do even more so in the future, provide opportunities for scams to threaten your assets and/or savings. There are a number of methods that scammers are currently using, which is VERY scary and some just subtle.
A Biblical Response to Artificial Intelligence
So what is a believer in Christ to do with this new, all around us, technology that is literally invading all areas of our life and church?
First and foremost, we are to, as in ALL things…
- Trust God
- Avoid a bunker mentality
- It is going to be with us, no matter what. See the good in it…and challenge, in a good and healthy way, the things that AI does/produces that do not line up with traditional thought, processing and faith.
- Don’t just buy everything that AI states/does
- It is…and will be wrong! It is based on the programmers’ keystrokes! They are fallible and most likely do not have the same faith-based processing as you do.
- AI is not Jesus… it’s not going to save you
- It may save you some time…in research and other things, but remember as of today, it is just a tool in the toolbox…and it can be used for good, or not so good.
- Learn how to live in a world with AI, it’s not going away
- If you don’t know or understand something, seek out a Godly person to help you interpret things for you.
- We are all learning this new thing called AI…and it will take time to process and learn more about the good, and the bad of it in our daily lives.
- Remember, God is sovereign even over AI.
- God can use even the evil intentions of man’s heart to bring about good through helping people realize that old truth (the Word of God) is eternal and life changing and trustworthy.
- When no one trusts anything they see, hear, or read, the truth of God will shine brighter.
- And it will not just shine brighter online and on computer social media, but it will shine bright as we speak, and live out the Living Word of God.
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16, NIV84)
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