AI, or Artificial Intelligence, is the development of computer systems that perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as speech recognition, decision-making, and language translation. Recently an employee at Google was suspended for suggesting one of their latest AI platforms could think and had achieved some level of consciousness. He had posed questions to the computer software and claims its responses exhibited fear about its own existence and use.
Many counter this idea by contending that these systems are built to process large swaths of information, and can go through so much data, that they are becoming increasingly good at responding in ways that can seem convincingly human. I don’t share this to say whether AI can have feelings. I find this interesting for ministry from two differewnt perspectives.
The first is exciting as we consider how the ministry response system could use AI to help supply volunteers with critical information that they could use during a conversation. Might our future response system potentially spot a topic, or line of conversation, and quietly make different resources available to the volunteer to share at their discretion. The same live conversations we have had for 26 years with technology working in the background to make the volunteer more effective.
The second perspective is more perilous. These AI systems don’t decide what information to process on their own. They are programmed with specific guidelines and rules. My concern is for when the people that decide those specifications have an agenda. Then the AI is influenced by that agenda before it even starts processing data and formulating responses.
Have you ever noticed that the auto-correction on your iPhone text messages never fixes your misspelling of God with God? You can get the G and the O right, but it never offers God as an option. The computer did not decide to do that itself. Someone decided to simply eliminate God as an option.
Technology can make our lives dramatically easier and improve mankind. It can also bring an assortment of risks and hazards. We see God use it for good each day. However, we must be careful to understand how others may use it going forward. We pray you keep your eyes open to those that may have agendas contrary to His.