Faith column: The cure to a passably good, albeit boring and forgettable life
You’ve likely heard by now the amazing feats these new Artificial Intelligence robots can accomplish. I’ve used it to create beautiful paintings in the style of Van Gogh...
WORTHINGTON — It’s been a busy week, so as the deadline loomed, the temptation was real to type in “crank out an article I can submit to the Worthington Globe” into the Open AI ChatGPT.
I’ve fiddled around with this new tool enough times now to know it would have instantly produced a column that was passably good, albeit slightly boring and ultimately forgettable. But since those same words describe most of my columns that have filled space on this page, you probably wouldn’t notice a difference.
You’ll never really know, will you… maybe I succumbed to the AI temptation and you’re reading an article a robot produced. Or, maybe not. I’ll keep you guessing.
You’ve likely heard by now the amazing feats these new Artificial Intelligence robots can accomplish. I’ve used it to create beautiful paintings in the style of Van Gogh to illustrate the theme of particular Bible passages. It dutifully helped me convert the words of Isaiah 53 into a metrical hymn that our congregation can sing. It quickly and accurately researched for me why Paul might have used a different Greek word than I expected in Ephesians 4:24.
It even can generate brand new Ole and Lena jokes on the spot, which is arguably its most valuable contribution to date.
All in all, these new AI tools have already saved me countless hours of work, which roughly makes up for the countless hours of work I’ve wasted generating less than desirable AI output. Much of what the chatbot spit out was passably good, albeit slightly boring and ultimately forgettable.
Often what it came back with wasn’t at all what I had in mind, and sometimes it even got the facts wrong to one degree or another. The modern proverb ‘garbage in, garbage out’ still holds true.
And as it turns out, the rural Minnesotan culture that Ole and Lena hail from totally confounds the world’s most advanced computers. I suppose that’s not surprising.
Ultimately I’ve found that even the best AI-produced results needed some sort of human improvement to be useful. Artificial Intelligence has a significant limitation: Although it can process massive quantities of data, it can only reproduce ideas and inspiration previously developed by others.
In some ways the results it reproduces seem novel and even original, but each new response it generates is just a copy of a copy of a copy, with the increasing blurriness that one would expect.
History’s greatest people also understood, analyzed and used previously produced data and ideas, but instead of just spitting out a slightly altered copy, they used exclusively human ingenuity, creativity and insight to stand those ideas on end and create solutions that had never before been considered.
Artificial intelligence will never produce that kind of greatness because it’s just that. It’s artificial. Humanity, on the other hand, has been endowed with the most unique of attributes: you and I are created imago Dei; that is, in the very image of God.
As an image bearer, you can think, feel and do things in ways far beyond the capability of any other creature or machine. Your intellect, emotion and volition is designed to produce godly results. Certainly this doesn’t mean you have divine powers, otherwise those of us in Minnesota would be using them right about now to convert ground blizzards into tropical breezes. But being made in God’s image does give you an unmatched ability to achieve greatness as you reflect the image of the God who created and breathed life into you (Gen. 2:7).
Don’t settle for a life that’s passably good, albeit slightly boring and ultimately forgettable. Gather with God’s people this Sunday, dig into God’s Word throughout the week and learn how to live as a redeemed saint endowed with God’s image.
Rev. Chad Werkhoven is not a robot. He pastors Worthington Christian Reformed Church and contributes to a daily Bible reading plan with other area pastors. Learn more at UnfadingTruth.org.