Will They Worship the False Idol of AI? By James Reed
I did not think of this one, but even worshipping in the faith may not be safe from inroads made by artificial intelligence (AI). The technocratic elite are leaving no stone unturned and expect to see AI performing religious functions. According to Wesley Wildman, Professor of Philosophy, Theology, and Ethics, and of Computing and Data Sciences at Boston University, “AIs will write better sermons than most preachers, give better bible studies than most teachers, create amazing music and visual art for use in services and communications that struggling religious groups don’t have to pay for.” That’s his opinion, anyway. Presumably AI will not hear confessions, just yet.
This is all an example of allowing machines to displace that which is fundamentally human. I am sceptical that things will go this far, as I see clear limitations to AI, especially in regards to the sacred life, as I believe that God will not permit such a desecration, but that is my belief. However, certainly, things with technology are beginning to spiral out of control. As raised below, there is an emerging manic cult of AI worship, which is predictable, as some people always bow to sheer power and control.
“Intelligent AI robots are coming – and they will have the ability to perform religious ceremonies and could even turn against humans, experts have warned.
As AI becomes more prominent in our day to day lives, it wasn’t going to be long before the worlds of religion and tech merged.
The thought of robot Gods and ChatGPT sermons terrifies some people – and rightly so, according to experts.
Wesley Wildman, Professor of Philosophy, Theology, and Ethics, and of Computing and Data Sciences at Boston University, told The Sun that he believes AI will soon be able to perform religious duties even better than human priests.
He said: “AIs will write better sermons than most preachers, give better bible studies than most teachers, create amazing music and visual art for use in services and communications that struggling religious groups don’t have to pay for”.
The likes of ChatGPT have already reportedly found their way into churches, writing thoughtful and authentic sermons on behalf of the priests.
And the listeners were none the wiser.
Wildman explained that AI will have the ability to change everything we know about relationships with spiritual advisers and religious figureheads.
He said: “It will be like having your own personal guru you can take with you anywhere.
“You can confide in it, get advice from it, and learn to trust it to help you figure out complicated moral and spiritual situations”.
Many religious communities have already begun to incorporate robotics into their practices.
One example is the Catholic Church, which as endorsed the use of apps that facilitate the act of confession, according to Wildman.
He even says the Vatican is cautiously encouraging apps that can assist with a confession – but the sacrament must still be carried out person-to-person.
This is “partly for convenience, and partly because they’re [people] are trying to avoid human priests,” Wildman said on the idea of confession apps.
He also believes that this bizarre wave of new AI will be able to simulate deceased relatives, religious leaders and spiritual advisers.
But this doesn’t come without its own set of risks and dangers.
Wildman says that just as human religious leaders can manipulate vulnerable people, AI chatbots can be trained by their creators to do the same.
He believes that as younger generations grow up with these AI chatbots as friends – some even including holographic and VR representations – they will adapt to confiding in them and seeking advice and guidance from them.
Wildman says that this same process will undoubtedly happen in religious communities across the globe.
He added: “With AI bots designed to be trustworthy spiritual companions, the main ethical concern is how the AI bots are trained and whether they can be manipulated by mischief makers and evil doers to cause spiritual havoc”.
But Rev Christopher Benek, Pastor and Clergy Lead expert regarding AI, warns that it is our own “evil” warping the technology which will send us down a path of doom.
He said: “I don’t think we have a good example of virtuous AI at this point. I mean, almost every time you see AI, you see the evil that’s in us come forth in it.
“And so it’s really important that we’re striving to continue to be better as people, because I think that’s going to have direct consequences on what we’re able to create and how we’re able to create it.
“But I also think our evil is a limiting factor as to what we are able to create, and what we will create at some point.”