We see each other in church online.
We talk to each other in digital ministry.
What we see and interact with on the screen aren't the actual people. They are digital simulations that approximate the real so closely that the the proximity to full accuracy allows us to have virtually-mediated experiences and relationships.
But, in the end, it’s all digital simulation.
We live in an era when digital technology is making it increasingly easy and cheap to create fake but compelling images or videos of people, or even entirely artificial human-like personalities.
Machine learning tools and progress in artificial intelligence software means we are closer than ever to things previously only imaginable in sci-fi: computer programs that can speak to us like a human or, androids which are indistinguishable from real people.
A deeper conversation
In the Matters of Life & Death Podcast, John Wyatt and his son Tim discuss issues in healthcare, ethics, technology, science, faith and more. John is a doctor, professor of ethics, and writer and speaker on many of these topics, while Tim is a religion and social affairs journalist. They discuss examples of this kind of tech already in the world, what impact it may have in the future, and how we as Christians should think about these forms of simulated images, relationships and personalities.
Deep fake video technology has come a long way quickly.
If you want to go deeper into some of the topics that are discussed on the podcast episode, find more resources to read, listen to and watch at John’s website: http://www.johnwyatt.com
As culture continues to integrate artificial intelligence into customer service interactions that will soon be indistinguishable between machine and people, is there a place for AI like this in the church? What about guided prayer experiences? What about pastoral counseling? What about volunteer training?