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I, for one, welcome our robot overlords. Not really. But the technological revolution about to shake the world has a great deal of good news, along with the bad.
This month my organization launched a major initiative prompting evangelical Christians to think through the theological, ethical, and existential questions raised by the advance of artificial intelligence (AI). Much of the conversation is, understandably, about warning, since I don’t think my fellow evangelicals have given nearly enough attention to a technological shift that will transform our lives and raise questions most are not ready to confront. That said, as we noted in our manifesto, some of what will come with AI will be good for the world. And, I would argue, the good not only economically but in terms of our mission too.
Here are just a few ways.
The primary mandate of the church is, as Jesus, taught us, to disciple all nations, “teaching them whatsoever I commanded you” (Matt. 28:20). A computer algorithm, no matter how artificially intelligent, can never disciple anyone. But AI-empowered programs could translate the Bible and other materials quickly. We’ve already seen how the Internet can connect dispersed and isolated persecuted Christians to one another and to the outside world. AI technologies could have positive implications for Bible translation, for pastor training, and a host of other projects that we can’t even imagine today.
Resources - Technology - Mean - Christian - World
Even now, the resources available through digital technology mean that a Christian, anywhere in the world, with an Internet connection can have access to a theological library that makes that of any world-renowned seminary look paltry by comparison. As much as I lament what’s happening with Internet pornography and the dehumanization of much of social media, I have to look in wondering gratitude at some of the benefits to our mission...
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