AI: Artificial Intelligence or Actor Inferni?

Felipe Fortitudo

The fast growth and adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) has revolutionized many facets of our lives. Without a doubt, AI has improved our lives in more ways than we can possibly conceive, from simple things like autocorrect in smartphone messaging to highly advanced self-driving cars. However, the downside of these technologies render us stupid by potentially making our lives “smart.” They encourage us to become increasingly dependent on computers, which teaches us to be lazy. The realm we live in is powered by machines that make our lives easier and comfortable, as a result, humans are enslaved by material things that he himself created.

Take chatGPT as an example. It is a fantastic piece of technology that can help us improve our daily tasks. However, as we perceive how to use it, we realize the negative effects of AI. The recent controversies of a number of students cheating on essays and research papers using chatGPT has been in the press for several months. Also, the use of AI in providing guidance and counsel to disturbed students is not an acceptable application of this technology. AI works on the basis of algorithms and data, and oftentimes it is lacking moral conscience or a sense of ethics. AI could prioritize efficiency and usefulness over moral principles when employed in decision-making processes. Artificial intelligence tempts humans to lose their sense of morality. It removes our judgment from a number of human activities by removing a variety of decisions from our brains. The use of AI chatbots in counseling raises concerns about the sincerity and significance of the counseling process. Human counseling must be empathetic and compassionate, factors that AI systems cannot mimic. Faith, hope and charity are the three theological virtues that make us God’s children and that the machine cannot learn, even if they become self-aware in the future. They are mere actors, projecting that what they do or say is real. Furthermore, we cannot prevent its negative consequences until we fully understand how it operates.

The use of Artificial Intelligence has also implications in our faith and morals. Christian churches, mostly protestants, have started exploring the use of AI in their worship and counseling services. Although AI has the ability to help in many circumstances, it is important to carefully address the ethical and theological issues it poses. A few days ago, in a Lutheran Church in Germany, an AI was used in a 40-minute experimental church service — including the sermon, prayers and music — to hundreds of its members. The service was created (or generated) by ChatGPT. The reviews were mixed, but one criticism stands out: “There was no heart and no soul.”

The mentioned church service happened in a Protestant church, but given how the Vatican II supporters accept Protestantism and Modernism, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that a Catholic diocese will adopt such a form of ritual in the near future. If the Vatican will allow this trend, there is a significant risk that AI will pervert the Church’s teachings and beliefs, jeopardizing the Catholic Church’s integrity by disseminating incorrect theological interpretations that will cause confusion among its faithful. Are we simply going to sit back and accept whatever doctrine is handed down to us?

A viral video on the internet shows someone enquiring about the father of chatGPT. The response he got from the AI is Satan. Although the viral video’s authenticity is unverified and may be questioned, its message does hold a significant amount of truth. St. Paul tells us that “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). What he says and does seems beautiful and appears truthful, but it is simply a clever deception. Jesus called Satan the “father of lies” in that he is the original liar. He is the “father” of lies in the same way that Martin Luther is the “father” of the evil Reformation. Satan, who appeared as a serpent, told the first lie in recorded history. When Eve told the Serpent that they were forbidden to eat the fruit or they would die, he said “’No! You will not die! God knows in fact that the day you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, knowing good from evil.” The Serpent did, in fact, tell the truth, but it was a half-truth, and a half-truth is a complete lie. Yes, after eating the forbidden fruit, they became gods, their eyes opened and they realized good and evil, but the Serpent deceived them, for they truly perished because they sinned. That death was the reason why Jesus Christ, our God, became man and atoned for our sins.

According to Fr. Chad Ripperger, an American Catholic priest and exorcist, the devil thinks like a supercomputer. He is a master strategist, and he can foresee your actions by examining your words and actions. AI behaves similarly; it employs an algorithm to handle massive amounts of data in a highly efficient manner in order to make decisions and predictions. A simple application of AI is the list of “Recommendations” on our social media or online shopping. They forecast our future actions by studying our patterns and activities on the internet. As you may be aware, everything we do on the internet is recorded, and this data is used by big businesses in their advertising strategies. Combine this Big Data with Deepfake, a type of artificial intelligence used to create convincing images, audio and video hoaxes, who knows what they will do in the future now that they know everything about an individual?

I recall a famous line from one of my favorite movies, The Usual Suspects. “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” It implies that the Devil is more effective when he operates covertly, manipulates and conditions behaviors, rather than telling people what to do. How he does it? Simple: by using technology. He overwhelms individuals with technology that makes their lives comfortable. He presented them smartphones to fiddle with all day, to the point that they completely neglected their prayer lives. He manipulates people’s minds by favoring materialism over metaphysical beliefs. He causes them to trust more on Artificial Intelligence rather than praying for the Ultimate Intelligence that the Holy Spirit offers. Can we still recall the love of God in the midst of all the wealth and comforts the world has to offer? Prosperity Doctrine is a heresy taught by the protestants, a perversion of Christ’s teaching!

AI is beneficial as long as it is not employed by the Church in preaching or counseling. Remember, AI has no heart and soul. Why would you trust an artificial being to restore a human being’s faith? In 2014, Elon Musk cautioned the world by saying, “With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon.” Nine years later, the advancement of AI is very remarkable. Therefore, let us beware – the Devil, the great deceiver, the father of lies – is already here.

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