The gang’s all here.

There’s been a lot of interest lately in the rise of open online AI programs like ChatGPT that can create art in any style, compose music from any period, and write in imitation of the voice of any celebrity or famous author you can think of. Broadening out, advice columnists have been imitated as well, with people being given relationship and other sorts of personal pro tips by an algorithm.

In each of these cases the question became how to tell the difference between something created by a real person (not just a generic real human, but an actual living, breathing personality) and what a computer was coming up with. Even in the case of the advice columns it was difficult if not impossible to figure out what was real and what the product of artificial intelligence. Or, even more damningly, which was better.

The next step is pretty clear. Now in fact there have been AI Jesus programs for years now. One of these, developed by an engineer named George Davila Durendal and designed to speak in the language of the King James Bible, got a lot of headlines back in 2020 for spouting some ersatz prophecies. But those were early days and the results weren’t all that impressive.

More recently, there was an interesting image posted on Twitter responding to the prompt “Jesus takes a selfie during the last supper.” Again, this was just a widely-shared novelty, good for some headlines and a few chuckles. But given how rapidly things have been developing I had to wonder if an AI Jesus couldn’t soon write sermons on pretty much any occasion, directed at any audience. And if AI advice columnists can give perfectly workable if not downright helpful solutions to daily problems, and AI doctors give medical advice, why not have an AI religious leader ministering to spiritual needs? From a virtual Jesus, how big a step is it to an AI God? Would it be indistinguishable from the real thing? If you’re an atheist, wouldn’t it be the real thing? Or even better? The Singularity or Rapture of the Nerds is getting closer.


4 thoughts on “WWAIJD?

    • I think this AI story is big. It’s going to have (is already having) a real impact at school, and will effect writers and artists significantly. Beyond that, where it will end is indeed the question. It seems to me that a Church of AI could become a reality anytime now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yep, photographers and artists are all up a height about the impact it will have on their work. I had a go on one of the AI image generators but wasn’t impressed, (or was’t any good at it!) But had not realised it was doing writing and religion too. Well I suppose most people are in thrall to AI anyway, that’s what the smartphones are in a nutshell, so an I church isn’t too far away


      • The art gives some variable results, but it’s coming along, and is already better than a lot of middle-of-the-road stuff real artists are doing.

        It’s definitely impacting writers. I’m wondering when we can start getting AI movie reviews. We’ve already given way to the review aggregators, why not let an AI put them all together and polish them up a bit, written in the style of Pauline Kael or David Thomson or Anthony Lane? You could do something like that now, and the programs are just going to improve.


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