Helping People to Meet God • Make Friends • Grow in Faith

Beyond human thought and presence

I write this blog once a week. It takes me anything from 15 minutes to 2 hours. What if I am a bit pressed for time? I hope that I get some good inspiration or I just force some words onto the page.
However, there is a faster way, which many “content writers” are now using: Artificial Intelligence Writing Tools. These online tools continually learn by scanning content—mostly on the internet. They get to know what the most popular writers on certain topics wrote, what the best structures for articles and blog posts are, and can distinguish different tones in writing. I’m not sure how good the writing tools are on Christian content, but I think there’s enough on the internet for them to have learned a bit. With Christmas coming up, I’m sure I could specify a funny, religious blog about  Christmas 400 words long and the writing tool would give me a few options, which I could then use or tweak a bit. The writing tool would then get to know my preferences over time. That would make it quite easy to have articles and posts written.

Already a lot of online content is being written by these AI tools. Many of us spent at least part of our lives reading texts that were written with minimal human input. These writing tools are apparently quite good at coming up with readable texts for a lot of topics. But they are somewhat loose with the facts and go for what sounds good over what is true or thoughtful. Even experts are not quite sure how the AI models work out what to write. While not wanting to sound alarmist, I am concerned that much of our thinking will no longer be informed by original human thought or experience, but by what robots generate to get the most clicks. Due to the COVID pandemic even more of our life is spent on-line and we are even more exposed to whatever algorithms feed us. Maybe in times like these, church is even more important as a place where people physically come together, listen to words that are actually spoken and talk face to face. While there has to be some fluidity between our presence online and in physical reality, I think that church needs to emphasize the physical presence when so much of our lives is determined by algorithms. Meeting with other humans, who after all are a bit strange, may be a bit uncomfortable, but it is essential to get closer to the truth, and to live our lives in community and before God.

And yes, I wrote this wee article myself without the aid of any AI writing tool.