Ruminations: ChatGPT

I don’t know how Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) works. I’ve seen worst-case scenarios in sci-fi movies. And I’ve had some interesting interactions with an A.I. therapy app. My impression is that people are not in danger of being replaced any time soon.

We could go on from here to ruminate on how human interactions are special. Instead, I’m thinking about last Sunday’s Call to Worship, which was created by an Artificial Intelligence called ChatGPT.

Here’s another, shorter one ChatGPT had to offer:

We come from all faiths and none

We believe in love, compassion, and truth

Our faith is a path to unity and peace.

That’s an inspiring vision for who we are as a faith tradition! Inspiring enough for a Call to Worship on your average Sunday morning at least. It’s something we might aspire to, even though we don’t manifest that potential week in and week out.

One might think ministers should worry about this one-click theology. But in an online conversation about using A.I. to write chalice lightings, one of my colleagues had less worry and more wonder.

She asked, “What then does this liberate us to do?”

That question has been percolating in my mind ever since. If we stop doing unnecessary things, can we then allow ourselves to be liberated for intentional action in more important directions?

Is it the role of a minister to write poetic and clever chalice lightings? Or is that something that distracts from what it really means to embody the role of minister?

To get really personal: Do I allow myself to be distracted by things I don’t really need to do, so that I don’t have to engage in the things that are really challenging and a little intimidating?

And the answer is: Sometimes. Yeah.

We’ve been considering what is at the core of our being—finding our Center. We’ve been wondering what we see when we look at ourselves through eyes of honest, divine love. We’ve been pondering how to fill in the blanks of

“I am __________, therefore I __________.”

So, what distracts you from that? Are there unnecessary things that you allow to occupy your time and energy? Maybe not things that an A.I. could just as easily do, but things that don’t really warrant the priority you give them in your life?

If you were to let go of the unnecessary things, what then would you be liberated to do?