ERLC: Benefits of AI are great, but dangers are real

Monday, April 15, 2019
Steve Jordahl (

artificial intelligenceIt used to be the stuff of Hollywood science fiction, but artificial intelligence is coming – and there may be no stopping it. Southern Baptists, however, are trying to get out in front of the technology.

Whether they realize or not, humans are interacting with artificial intelligence every day – from getting through traffic, to the ads seen on mobile devices, to flying airplanes. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention has developed a statement of principles it says are necessary as AI gains traction in everyday life.

The first principle, according to ERLC's Jason Thacker, is to draw a clear, bright line between man and machine.

"We do not buy into the popular notion that artificial intelligence will ever be human or even rival humanity in terms of dignity and worth," he begins.

Second, be aware – but not afraid – of technical advances in computing.

"The great part about being a believer in Christ is that I know that this technology is a tool that God has given us that we can use to love him and love our neighbor, but we can also misuse it and abuse it in ways that dishonor God," he shares.

Third, no matter how amazing and seemingly mystical, he says AI will never take the place of a relationship with God.

"Often [it's] used as a substitute or an idol or something that we feel like will save us or provide for us or meet our deepest longings and desires, [which] we know as Christians are found solely in the gospel of Christ," Thacker adds.

In an earlier article, OneNewsNow reported on a curious mix of AI and spirituality: a robot in Germany that offers blessings in five different languages.

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