I asked ChatGPT to compose an article about artificial intelligence, or “AI.” This isn’t it. I prefer to do my own thinking (if that’s what AI is supposed to do).
One user started a firestorm by posting, “I asked ChatGPT to create a fake biblical passage. I know it’s not real, but it gave me some comfort.” AI can put a new, technological sheen on something as old as idolizing your own heart’s desires.
The prospect of pervasive AI raises fears. Surveillance systems with facial recognition is already being used in a social credit system in China. AI can generate images and audio to misrepresent truth. Mike McMeekin of Engineering Change Lab said, “Sometimes technologies like AI are released to the public without a thorough examination of the potential unintended consequences and the potential negative impacts…If there is fear, I think it’s justified.”
AI is making a big splash now, even though mankind has been pursuing machine learning and superintelligence for a long time. In its basic form, AI uses information from the past to make predictions or create output when given new data. It can be abused, but it also holds promise for many fields of human endeavor, including medicine, engineering, and the arts.
I can say with confidence AI will always have its limitations. It cannot answer the ultimate questions of human life. It will not change what it means to be human. Professor John Lennox identifies another limitation. “The big question is this,” he writes. “How can an ethical dimension be built into an algorithm that is itself devoid of heart, soul, and mind?” Will AI ever have qualms about rewriting Biblical texts, creating autonomous weapons, or limiting human freedoms?
Peter Sloterdijk based his book “Spheres,” on the ongoing, human quest for immunity from danger. When you cannot hear God saying, “Fear not,” you turn to something else. “Modernity is characterized by the increasing removal of its safety structures from the traditional theological and cosmological narratives,” he writes. “Humanity seeks to create a new immune constitution in electronic media skin.” Humans are tempted to treat technology like AI as though it is godlike. That’s how someone finds comfort in the made-up words of ChatGPT.
Good news! You can still find comfort in God’s design for being human: “In Him we live and move and exist” (Acts 17:28). You can tap superintelligence when you “have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him” (Col. 3:10).
AI will change our lives for better and for worse probably sooner than later. But you can take comfort in knowing that you are made in the image of God. You are renewed by faith in the Lord Jesus, the Shepherd of your soul. AI can’t change that.