I remember living in Germany and entering a museum to see Gutenberg’s press that printed the first bible. Because Scripture could now be printed, not hand-written, a printed bible could be placed in the hands of the members of a congregation, and not remain chained to the pulpit and available only to the clergy. That advancement in technology changed the Church. Five hundred years later the Internet arrived unleashing an even greater impact than Gutenberg’s press. It allowed the global community to have instant access to information all the way from the boardroom of a Fortune 500 corporation to a remote village in a jungle outpost and all points in between. Another Gutenberg/Internet moment is upon us. It is called Artificial Intelligence.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a computer system that interprets an environment and takes steps to maximize abilities and resources to achieve a goal. It is a computer consciousness programmed by its creators to transfer knowledge more effectively turning knowledge into a specific application.
AI became an academic discipline in 1956 long before technology was present to support its existence. Now we have the technology to move to a level of deployment that will stretch our comprehension of reality. We have already seen the first generations of AI in the voices of Siri and Alexa, in self-driving cars, and in the highest levels of automated gaming programs.
Gutenberg’s press, the Internet, and now AI has been given to the Church as tools to expand God’s Kingdom. One of the main benefits of AI will be problem-solving. This ability will give us an opportunity to pool our collective understanding drawing from global Kingdom input and be offered new, and in some cases, unrealized opportunities to advance God’s Kingdom. AI will be a tool to accelerate the advancement of the Kingdom as a collaborative worldwide effort. AI will not bring us revelation. It will enhance and expedite revelation to make its application as effective and far-reaching as possible.
Like it was with Gutenberg’s press and the Internet, good people of faith will be suspicious when AI steps into our lives in a fully functional form. At that point, we will have a choice to make. Will we reject the technology or use it for God’s glory? Another question will arise. Will there be misuses? Absolutely, but there have always been misuses for anything in this life. Like it is with any new technology, it can be used for evil or for good. The intent of the programmers is what determines the integrity of any technology.
If God can cause the rocks to cry out, He can surely use AI as a tool to glorify His name. Our future is about to become a wild and exhilarating journey of faith, as we move forward at the enhanced speed of revelation using every tool the Lord has placed at our disposal.