A Christian chaplain and blogger is leading a new network of Christian organizations in an attempt to establish how the church can best utilize the rapid rise and developments in AI technology.
Goswami is the recent founder of the AI Christian Partnership, made up of concerned Christian organizations, experts, and theologians. Their website, aichristian.org, is about to go live. Organizations include YouthScape, the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, and the Christian think tank Theos.
"The CEO of YouthScape contacted me and said, 'What do we do because kids might more easily speak to a bot, which is anonymous and non-judgmental, rather than a human being?'" Goswami told Premier.
"How can we actually educate Christians to engage with AI in ways that align with the gospel, promote human flourishing, and aren't negative and scary? That is our goal."
Responding to Rishi Sunak's announcement of an international AI safety summit in Bletchley Park, Goswami insisted it cannot be left to tech companies "to mark their own homework."
"They (Google, Facebook, Apple) say that they're concerned about the safety of AI, and yet, they are racing to develop as fast as they can.
"At the end of the day, there is huge pressure on them to turn a profit. Every quarter must be better than the last quarter. So they're not going to do that much of their own safety. And so he's (Rishi Sunak) right in saying that we do need some independent conversations around AI regulation. The problem is the pace at which AI is developing. It's so fast that it's hard for regulation, safety, or even our understanding to keep up."
Goswami is confident that AI can be an invaluable tool for church mission, especially in evangelism. Two weeks ago, a software company collaborated with the Alpha organization to develop a robot called Beta, which excited Goswami.
"Beta can be used by Alpha course organizers to answer almost any question on faith and have a dialogue around that. So not just answer the question but have a conversation."
"I've used AI to say, 'Hey, give me a reading plan based on Exodus over four weeks. Give me a reading each day and follow it up with a prayer, which I want you to get from the key combo's online presence, and it'll do it."
Goswami is not a fan of using AI for producing sermons, saying he's never used any that he's put through the software to experiment. However, he is an advocate of what he describes as a "hybrid" approach, where AI can provide useful tools to the sermon without writing it itself.
"So, for example, there's a website called Topic AI, and you upload your sermon. I've done this in MP3 format, and it will give you back a set of devotions based on that sermon, a set of points, highlights from your sermon, a summary of it, a blog based on it, etc."
"But there's always this question of when do we hand over too much to AI and when do we lose the Holy Spirit?"