The rise of artificial intelligence carries with it an amalgam of immense possibility, worry, and outright fear, especially considering ongoing uncertainty about how associated technologies will be used.
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It’s a topic apologist and worldview expert Jason Jimenez, host of the “Challenging Conversations” podcast, believes is important for Christians to discuss and discern.
Jimenez admitted during a recent episode of the show the technology is “pretty impressive,” and said it can be used to improve medical conditions and even advance education, among other societal benefits.
Without proper vetting, though, he warned AI could end up “controlling our lives sooner than we think.” The faith leader addressed several major concerns he has with AI and the problems it could perpetuate.
“What we need to be discussing is not just consumer privacy, which clearly is one of the big concerns that many of the leading AI experts are having [but also] many legal and ethical concerns that other people in different professions and expertise are having,” he said. “And I find myself having them as well.”
Listen to Jimenez break down the potential dangers of AI:
Among the many concerns, Jimenez discussed the “replacement of human jobs” with AI, something that could spark “massive unemployment.”
One study he cited noted 300 million jobs worldwide could potentially evaporate.
“That will be a crisis that we probably have never seen,” he said. “Now, on one hand, with AI, with that intelligence, it’s going to produce more jobs … to maintain certain aspects, if you will, of AI in that infrastructure.”
Jimenez continued, “But the vast majority of the jobs that people are currently holding … logistics statisticians, analysts, you name it, marketers, web development, all of these types of things will be replaced.”
With a mixture of promise and terrifying uncertainty, the definitive future of AI is difficult to discern, but even tech minds like Elon Musk have urged caution and also a pause in the technology while safeguards can be put into place.
Christian leader Johnnie Moore has also called for a pause, recently telling CBN News he believes people need to fully comprehend the full scope of AI before fully unleashing it.
“I think we ought to pause,” Moore said. “And I’m not sure that the general public yet really understands how all of their lives will change, and could potentially change, because of this new technology.”
These calls for caution come as Jimenez noted, without a doubt, AI is “going to affect our lives in the future.” One of the major factors causing much of the unease is the notion that AI seems to have a “life of its own.”
“The scary thing … is that the internet basically reflects human behavior, human norms, the good, the bad about us,” Jimenez said. “And the AI is trained on that same information.”
While the apologist said he’s not trying to spark “mass hysteria,” he believes the topic needs to be vetted and discussed, particularly among Christians and church leaders, expressing his fear the technology “will eventually grow smarter than humans and learn to control and manipulate us.”
“That’s a major concern — a major concern that we have before us is that … artificial intelligence is able to have a life of its own and continues to develop,” he said. “Ontologically, we are far more superior. We are body, soul, we’re made in the image of God.”
Jimenez continued, “If we’re not careful, this system can eventually start controlling not just what we have access to, but can be determining our future and manipulating us along the way.”
His second concern expressed during the podcast centered on the potential elimination of “personal and consumer privacy.” In a world filled with spam callers and technologies already used to target people, unrestrained AI, Jimenez believes, could become an even bigger nuisance and privacy problem.
“There’s hardly any control and we truly don’t understand its capabilities,” he said. “And again, what it’s actually accessing in your life and my life right now.”
One would also be remiss to ignore the reality that someone is paying for the creation of various AI tools, causing questions about bias, informational framing, and intent. The danger, in all issues, is AI becoming our “moral conscience,” a truly slippery slope.
The bias issue was recently mentioned by Dan Schneider, vice president of the Media Research Center Free Speech America, who warned the public to beware.
“The [political] left controls AI, and the left is going to what the left wants to do,” Schneider told Fox News. “The left despises the whole idea of a higher being that sets standards of right and wrong.”
Jimenez encouraged Christians not to be afraid or overtaken by hysteria as these issues unfold, but to be discerning.
“Even though we are alarmed by these issues regarding AI and we don’t know if the future holds, we’re not going to worry about that,” he said. “But we’re not gonna dismiss it either.”
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