This issue we turn once again to artificial intelligence (AI) and our shared aspirations for its safe usefulness and potential to change our lives for the better.
This past year, ChatGPT has written prayers, boosted online searches, and even a shabbat sermon for Rabbi Moskovitz. He quoted Rabbi AI: “It is important to remember that Judaism values the unique qualities of human beings and the importance of personal growth and development while technology can certainly be a valuable tool in the pursuit of knowledge it is ultimately the human mind and spirit that hold the key to True wisdom and understanding. As we consider the role of artificial intelligence in the accumulation of knowledge and wisdom it is important to approach it with caution and balance we should not rely on technology to the exclusion of our own personal growth and development but rather use it as a supplement to our own endeavors.”
From there, Rabbi Moskovitz went into where Rabbi AI had it right and wrong. And here too in this edition of Covalence we are exploring where we embrace technology or question it.
In our commentary section, I wondered whether we could lean on past interactions with new scientific technology as a guide to how faith should approach the new AI era that is now upon us. What more than likely comes across is this is indeed a unique time in human history in which our previous responses to evolution, climate change and genetic manipulation seem wholly inadequate.
In this month’s feature, Mark Douglas, professor of Christian Ethics at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Ga., eyed what AI in the hands of humans can do. It is the power that the technology can deliver to the user that should also be in check, he writes.
While the generative AI era celebrates its first birthday, we have yet to see how the toddler years will play out. But rest assured there are theologians watching its first footprints on our global culture.
Susan is an author with a long-time interest in religion and science. She currently edits Covalence, the Lutheran Alliance for Faith, Science and Technology’s online magazine. She has written articles in The Lutheran and the Zygon Center for Religion and Science newsletter. Susan is a board member for the Center for Advanced Study of Religion and Science, the supporting organization for the Zygon Center and the Zygon Journal. She also co-wrote Our Bodies Are Selves with Dr. Philip Hefner and Dr. Ann Pederson.