All technologies are amplifiers. They work like a hammer that amplifies the torque of your arm and the power that you can put into hitting a nail. AI is going to amplify our abilities in many areas, which will be good, but it will also carry the possibility of amplifying or extending the reach of our sinfulness as well.
Professor Noreen Herzfeld has spent her career working at the intersection of ethics, technology, and religion. Her book is intended “to help priests, bishops, and interested laypeople get up to speed on conversations about AI.”
We don’t really know artificial intelligence unless we know what it means to have human cognition because, given the Turing Test example, AI is supposed to mirror how we think. The key question that AI requires us to ask then is this: What does it mean to be human?
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.