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It may be neither higher nor intelligence | Harvard Gazette

Image by Cash Macanaya via Unsplash.

Amidst heighted excitement and concern about the rapid development and increasing availability of AI technology religious scholars are examining its value and limits.

As reported by Liz Mineo of the Harvard Gazette:

Religious leaders and scholars are starting to wrestle with the ways in which AI may change religion — much as other emerging technologies over the centuries, from the printing press to radio to television to YouTube, have altered religious beliefs and practices. Chatbots can write sermons in seconds, making it easier to ensure the timeliness of the message, and worshippers can interact one-on-one on their own schedule with robots and AI-powered machines, such as an AI rabbi, an android Buddhist priest, or Catholic robot SanTO.

Harvard Humanist Chaplain Greg Epstein was interviewed for this article. In it, he observes:

If religious and secular people aren’t careful, what artificial intelligence is promising or threatening to do is really supersede religion or outpace it … There’s a danger in projecting divine goodness, or some transcendent intentions onto what is ultimately an extraordinarily large economic force that wants to become ever larger and evermore influential … It wants to sell more products; it wants to dominate more markets; and there aren’t necessarily benign intentions behind that.