Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a broad area of computer science (don’t tune out yet) dedicated to the creation of software or hardware which can act, learn and adapt to the real world like humans do. It is all about amplifying human capabilities and automating tedious tasks to compliment what we do as humans, not replace humans. It is less about plagues of killer robots, and more about using robotics to help kill plagues.
At its core, AI is the action of inputting data, processing data and outputting data. The processing aspect of it is built to learn, problem-solve, predict trends, answer questions and give recommended actions based on what the data says. The more it does it, the smarter it gets, hence the word intelligence. It is not a new concept, nor a new technology. It is not a magical or scary technology, but it is a technology that aught provoke us as Christians to think deeply and differently, because any invention that attempts to mimic the actions of a human certainly raises questions. Questions worth exploring and finding answer for.
Considering that, here are 3 things Christians can do to embrace Artificial Intelligence and the future…
3 things Christians can do to embrace artificial intelligence and the future…
1. Know WHAT you believe and WHY you believe it
Artificial Intelligence will begin to affect every industry and it will begin to raise questions around values and ethics. The answers to these questions will either positively or negatively shape the future of society. This will require strong Christians with strong values and ethics to be ready to speak and act when needed.
Confidently knowing what you believe and why you believe it not only defines your values as a person but will also determine if you are a valuable person in time of need. AI does not control itself, people control AI, so it is key to ensure those in control care about ethics.
Know the why to your what. In the future, explaining the what will not be enough, you will need to be able to explain the why. Continue to form convictions, theories and opinions based on Biblical values. If you have questions, search out answers and become confident in sharing them. Begin to understand how your beliefs can not only positively shape AI but also shape society.
Think about this… How will artificially intelligent machines know what society values if we, society, don’t know ourselves? What good is a compass without a true north and what good is society without true values? The rapid growth of Artificial Intelligence is currently forcing society to question its morals. Soon it will be forcing us to question our purpose. Do you know your morals and purpose? Are you connected to the true moral north, God?
2. Diversify your skill sets and increase your capacity
Do you remember what life was like before smartphones existed? What about before Uber or the internet? Most of the things we enjoy and rely on now didn’t exist 15 years ago! That means jobs will look vastly different over the next 15 years and beyond.
Diversify, diversify, diversify — Don’t put all your skills in the one basket. Have many forms of talent/work that you can provide to the economy.
Possible areas or skills worth pursuing…
- Problem Solving — Problems we’ve never seen before will exist.
- Critical Thinking —We won’t have time to make decisions.
- Creativity —This will set you apart.
- Ethics — Companies will soon need ethicists advising decisions.
- Conversation Design — The next big wave of digital marketing.
- Data Analysis/Science — God made you analytical for a reason.
If Artificial Intelligence replaces your job, will you lose your identity? If so, now is a good time to re-evaluate the source of your value attribution. If your identity is found in tasks and achievements, what happens when you realise a machine can perform better and achieve more in a shorter time? Diversify your skillset and increase your mental, physical, and spiritual capacity, as society will be looking to people who can keep a level head and share hope from a level heart.
3. Be confident in your calling and obedient to the Holy Spirit
God’s mission is to restore humanity to Himself (through Jesus). God’s call to us is to take part in this mission. His calling looks different for each of us, but it will always align with His mission.
What is it that you know you are called to, but are too fearful to start? What is it that God’s been asking you to do, that you have been putting off? Who has the Holy Spirit been putting on your heart to reach out to? When was the last time you did something crazy for Jesus? It is time to step up in confidence and out in obedience.
Living out your calling isn’t always easy and making change isn’t easy, but luckily it is not a matter of ease, it is a matter of calling.
Pursuing your calling ensures you focus on reconciling humanity to Jesus. AI may change how the world works, but it doesn’t change your mission. AI does not remove your responsibility to share the Gospel, it simply increases the opportunity. It doesn’t change the message; it simply changes the method of sharing.
You are the only one who can do what you were called to do, so be confident in it! Society needs people confident in their identity and purpose to help them find their true identity and true purpose.
The question is not: Is AI a good or bad technology? Rather, the question is: How can we use this technology for good, not bad?
Reuben Skewes is an Australian pastor’s kid by birth, a graphic designer by trade and a husband and father by choice. He spent many years working with troubled teens, served as a pastor in his local church and currently is pioneering new ways to combine mission and technology to share Jesus.