I recently had to do a workshop presentation to faculty members at my University on the latest AI technology, ChatGPT. This is a chatbot that is designed to create text that is more human-like in its responses, interactions, and output.
As I was preparing for the presentation, I asked ChatGPT to write “a 10 minute presentation on ChatGPT and its effect on college professors.” I essentially asked it to produce the exact presentation that I needed to complete for the workshop. ChatGPT spit out the full text of a presentation in less than 10 seconds and I could have delivered the text and no one would have known the difference. Here is a sample:
I am fascinated, thrilled, and terrified of this technology but then I realized that there is nothing about this technology that changes the most important thing about me – Growing Up to resemble Christ. The work of spiritual formation is still the same – taking my broken, sinful self and transforming it to a mature, grace filled one. ChatGPT has no idea what is going on in my heart and mind. It can only produce responses that it thinks are appropriate for a human – it is not human.
As we enter an age of massive Artificial Intelligence, the need to become more human, not less human, will be of extreme importance. And more importantly, the need to be a more Christlike human will be desperately needed.
No matter how powerful these AIs get, the need for loving, forgiving, patient, humble, and peaceful people will still be strong, even essential. Technology has brought extreme advances in the last 25 years but it has also contributed to higher rates of mental illness such as depression and suicide and exacerbated anger and rage. There is a bigger need for Grown Up Christian than ever before.
The technology around us should not make us complacent about our spiritual lives, thinking that life is more convenient and easy so we have less need for building up endurance, love, and empathy. No, it should make us more diligent about our growth because the Christ that is inside of us is the only true answer to life’s problems and is the only hope to a fulfilling and thriving life.
We have already reached an age where we over-rely on technology and less on ourselves. We will need to learn to let technology do what it is best at (creating knowledge and convenience) while doubling down on our spiritual life and its healthy, Christian growth. Our human future will still need Christ and his promise of new life no matter how capable our technology gets.