As I look at our previous newsletter article, it is clear that AI can effectively collect, organize, and present information in written form. However, in its current iteration, this technology cannot embody the elements that make for effective human communication and interaction. While ChatGPT suggested that the events surrounding Holy Week are a simple matter of religious belief and cultural significance, the truth is that they are far more than that.
Today, our digital technologies are discipling us in ways that outstrip what our churches are doing. Technology is outdoing the very Christian discipleship that so many of us long to engage. Each time we pick up the phone and text. It’s all those small things built into the way we relate with each other, the way we work, and the way we do church. It is a competition between the way technology forms us and the way disciples of Christ are formed.
When we become commodities ourselves, we lose touch with the personhood which is our intrinsic worth, our dignity. We also forget the value of each other and those relationships that have nothing to do with a transaction. This is built into our imago Dei. We are beings in the image of God.
In last week’s newsletter, “How Are Humans Unique?”, Drew helped us ponder what’s unique about Homo sapiens. How are we different from other animals? Ishiguro asks this question from another angle. How might we distinguish ourselves from AI?
What concerns Ishiguro—and what ought to concern us as followers of Jesus—is not that AI might become human but what we are becoming as the march of technological power continues.
Clearly, self-driving autonomous trucks will make truck drivers a relic of the past. The industry needs an army of engineers, mathematicians, and technicians to keep these systems working safely and at optimal levels. This seismic industry shift presents a prime opportunity for helping BIPOC students see STEM as a viable alternative… We can use our social capital, influence, and collective wisdom to help guide this shift in ways that are equitable and just.
The church has not yet fully grappled with the potential for technology to change human nature, and I believe we need to. Mercer and Trothen agree and notch up the urgency, claiming that “the religions of the world will come to an end, or thrive, depending on how they respond to the topic.”