Tech Talk: Using Artificial Intelligence to Spread the Gospel Message

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Tech Talk with Lisa Hendey/Son Rise Morning Show (CatholicMom.com)

On a recent episode of the Son Rise Morning Show, we discussed how artificial intelligence can be used to spread the Gospel message.

We recently heard the news about an IBM project involving a computer that has been programmed to debate.

  • Per NBC News, “IBM’s Project Debater made its public debut in San Francisco Monday afternoon, where it squared off against Noa Ovadia, the 2016 Israeli debate champion, and in a second debate against Dan Zafrir, a nationally renowned debater in Israel.”
  • The robot’s artificial intelligence was programmed on topics as well as in the art of debate.

For engaged Catholics, one topic that often comes up in conversation and even in informal “debates” is faith. How might artificial intelligence be employed effectively in evangelization?

  • While machines are certainly incapable of developing a conscience, it seems conceivable that a device could be programmed to access scripture, Church teachings, and the recorded wisdom of the saints to address questions of faith.
  • Technology can also be employed to catechize when in-person teachers are not available.

What limitations keep technological solutions from being the perfect tool to spread the Good News?

  • In Hebrews 11:1, we read “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.”
  • In my heart, I believe that evangelization is at its core a relationship. The evangelist walks alongside the inquirer, responding to the inquirer’s questions and concerns with the love of Christ. I may not have as many theological answers as device trained in artificial intelligence, but I have both compassion for my fellow human being and trust that God’s will is perfect.
  • In Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 113 we are taught, “By faith, man completely submits his intellect and his will to God.2 With his whole being man gives his assent to God the revealer. Sacred Scripture calls this human response to God, the author of revelation, ‘the obedience of faith’.”

Are there current examples of Catholic artificial intelligence at work in spreading the Gospel?

  • Aleteia.org/ePaul – a tool which recommends helpful articles to share with friends who are interested in learning more about the faith
  • Missio.org – a “Pope Francis” Chatbot created by Pontifical Mission Societies that uses a dialogue-driven tool to drive users to information about mission projects and wisdom from Pope Francis

Listen to the full audio of our conversation.

 

Read more of our Tech Talk columns.


Copyright 2018 Lisa Hendey

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About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder of CatholicMom.com, a bestselling author and an international speaker. A frequent radio and television guest, Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and communications. Visit Lisa at LisaHendey.com or on social media @LisaHendey for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish, school or organization. Find Lisa’s books on her Amazon author page.

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