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AI – a reflection on us

This week I asked the question: What does an analysis of “Conversations with Archbishop J” reveal?

An Analysis by CHAT GPT

“‘Conversations with Archbishop J’ is a series of articles published on the Catholic News website that explores the insights and reflections of Archbishop Jason Gordon, the Archbishop of Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago. These conversations cover a range of topics, from personal spirituality to social justice issues affecting the Caribbean region. This essay will provide a detailed understanding of the contents of these conversations and how they can impact readers.

The conversations began with Archbishop J discussing his personal faith journey and the role that Catholicism has played in his life. He speaks about the importance of finding joy and peace in one’s faith and the need to be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The Archbishop also reflects on the challenges that come with being a public figure and the need to stay rooted in prayer to maintain his sense of purpose and direction.

One of the recurring themes in these conversations is the Archbishop’s concern for the poor and marginalised. He speaks about the need to address the root causes of poverty and the importance of social justice in building a more equitable society. The Archbishop also discusses the Church’s role in promoting social justice and the need to work with other faith communities and civil society organisations to bring about positive change.

Another important topic that the Archbishop addresses is the need for unity and reconciliation within the Church and society. He speaks about the importance of listening to different perspectives and engaging in constructive dialogue to overcome divisions and build a more cohesive community. The Archbishop also emphasises the need for forgiveness and healing in relationships that have been damaged by conflict or injustice.

The conversations also touch on a variety of other topics, including the role of women in the Church, the importance of interfaith dialogue, and the challenges facing young people today. Throughout these conversations, Archbishop J draws on his own experiences and insights to offer guidance and inspiration to readers.

Overall, the conversations offer a rich and insightful reflection on a wide range of topics relevant to the Catholic community and beyond. The Archbishop’s deep spirituality, commitment to social justice, and focus on unity and reconciliation make his insights particularly relevant and timely in today’s world.

For readers, these conversations offer an opportunity to deepen their own faith and understanding of Catholic teachings, as well as to engage with some of the pressing social issues of our time. The archbishop’s emphasis on listening, dialogue, and cooperation also provides a model for how individuals and communities can work together to build a more just and equitable world.

In conclusion, ‘Conversations with Archbishop J’ is a valuable resource for anyone seeking to deepen their faith and engagement with the wider community. Through his reflections on personal spirituality, social justice, unity, and reconciliation, Archbishop J offers a vision of a more compassionate and equitable world, rooted in the teachings of the Catholic Church. His insights and guidance are a testament to the power of faith to inspire positive change and bring people together in common cause.”


The Reveal

At first glance the response is humbling. It gets the main themes of the articles that have been written over the last five years. It connects the themes with spirituality and the office of the Archbishop. It even analyses personality traits in the writing. It gets my intention to assist readers deepen their faith and live the Catholic life more fully. At first reading, I was stunned and humbled by the analysis.

The thing is, I asked ChatGPT, a new artificial intelligence (AI) portal, to do the analysis. It stunned me because it summarised my aspiration for the weekly column. It pulled together both the key themes and the dynamic of formation that I have been striving for.

My first read was dazzling as it put forward an ideal that I have been striving for. Can artificial intelligence be that good? If it is, we humans have just had a major upgrade in technology that will make the jump to the Internet and the smart phone look like child’s play.

Pause and breathe, this is a significant moment in humanity.

A challenging perspective

Digging deeper, I realised that the analysis was shallow and flattering. There is no growth point or area for improvement.

I asked ChatGPT to analyse the fictional work of a different bishop. The same superlatives and themes emerge. The only challenge was the work did not exist. It found themes of spirituality, social justice, nature of God, etc, but it was never written down. The chatbot has a sense of what a bishop should write, and it uses this to fake an analysis, which has enough truth to seem plausible.

A Barbadian friend used the AI programme to research me and ChatGPT did not know I was bishop in Barbados. So, we know it still has a lot of information missing. But we also know, it can fudge and fill in blanks and take a very optimistic view of a topic enquired about.

This is dangerous because it gives a very biased view of the real world. It does not manage to differentiate, to dig deeper, to do what we humans do, see not only what is, but what is missing and what ought to be. It did not give an analysis; it gave at best some optimistic impressions.

Here is the first challenge with AI, it is as good as the information it is fed. The bias or inadequacy of the programmer is going to show in the bias of the answers. Like all algorithms this will amplify some perspectives and disproportionally undervalue and highlight others. We can only assume our correct prejudices will be amplified. That will be dangerous and divisive, serving the rich and powerful.

AI is in its infancy and still learning. This is important. It will get more accurate the more we use it and train it.

Not too long from now, it will dig deeper, analyse better, and be more nuanced. As it develops, it will imitate us more and more with all our shortcomings. This means it will be employed to do the good, the bad and the ugly.

This is more of a reflection on us, than it is about technology. If we are to shape this brave new world, we humans need to steadfastly form our conscience and consistently help ourselves and others to choose the moral way.

The biggest challenge is AI becoming sentient, i.e., imitating our learning, emotions, and feelings. If this is allowed, it will either be a great tool in the development of the world. Or it will be the beginning of the war with machines, played out in so many movies.

While we are happily upgrading technology, we need to relentlessly upgrade human conscience and capacity to consistently make good moral choices.


Key Message:

As we grow technology to become more powerful and to serve us in this new brave world, we must also evolve morally to shape this emerging world and our future.

Action Step:

Reflect on your use of the Internet. What does it tell you about yourself? Are your choices self-denying and about taking up your cross—sacrificial? Or, self-indulgent? 

Scripture Reading:

Mt 16:24–25b