You may have heard of how Artificial Intelligence (AI) has taken over the chat world. Recently, AI programs like ChatGPT and others have been touted as the next step towards human-like interactions generated by computer codes. Students are using them to write papers that they didn’t produce; business are using them to write letters and produce reports; speakers are using them to write speeches. These AI generated chats boast an ability to synthesize ideas quickly using natural language as a means of communication. And I fear it’s making us quite lazy!
As I considered these developments in the AI world, my thought goes to a concern that a friend of mine in the AI field calls, “Thought Prosthetics”, that is, using Artificial Intelligence as a substitute for thinking wherein we become deficient in thinking ourselves. It’s an interesting debate. The Bible tell us that there will come a time when our knowledge of the Word of God will decline globally (Amos 8:11) and that our dependency on the nice things someone else tells us about God will outstrip our hunger for Him (2 Timothy 4:3). Perhaps the AI world will not be the gateway to such a demise, but there is a hint that anything that allows us to think less and rely more on something else to help us think is becoming very quickly popular. Memorizing Scripture has been taken over by smartphone searches; knowing how to find a particular book in the Bible (there are only 66 books) is becoming a lost skill as we depend on digitized contents pages available at a touch. Taken together, our use of “thought prosthetics” of all kinds may be threatening to diminish our capacity to face a time when God’s Word is no longer as available as we have it now. Our relationship with our Lord may become dependent on the inspiration that someone else can muster in us rather than spending our time “thinking on Him” so that He transforms our minds (Romans 12:1,2). I recently pulled out a Bible I had used when I was a young believer. The pages were covered with handwritten insights; yellow stick-it notes were plastered on almost every page in which I found a treasure of the Spirit’s word to me. Every page had been turned as I poured over what God had to say. I thought about how adventures in thought like these had contributed to my growth in the Spirit, and I yearned for everyone I knew to be able to grow in Christ in the same way. Just in case you wondered, I’ve since migrated to digital copies of the Bible so that I could be blessed with the study the Word in both Hebrew and Greek, and have 12 versions of the Bible on one device! But I’ve never lost the careful study to God’s Word to train the mind that I learned when I was younger. So perhaps here is a thought: grow in Christ. Grow in His Word. Read it for yourself. Read it lots. And perhaps when hard times come, it is not an artificial intelligence that would lead us through, but an intelligence in the Word of God that would lead us to hearing His Spirit. Let’s take that seriously.