Pastor's Corner

1 Feb
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Mid-Week Challenge

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is all the rage.  We have seen reports of new writing programs like ChatGPT, Jasper, YouChat & Grammarly.  These programs will correct your grammar or go all the way and write the entire paper for you.  All the user has to do is type in a few key words and the AI does the rest.  That sounds too futuristic but these programs are already being used for college essays and business journals, so much so that it is becoming a problem for professors and others in educational fields.  Students are using the technology to write papers that are hard to determine how much the computer helped out and how much of the work is original to the student.         

Higher education is not the only field being influenced by this new technology. The fine art world has seen its first controversy concerning the use of AI.  With programs alike VanceAI Art Generator, AI Painter and Stable Diffusion, would be artist type a few descriptive words and the computer produces a “work of art!”  How good could this technology be? So good that someone used it to win first prize at the annual Colorado State Fair art competition.  Jason Allen, who is the president of Colorado-based tabletop gaming company Incarnate Games, was awarded a $300 cash prize, for his Théâtre D’opéra Spatial.  The piece was created using an online program called Midjourney, an AI tool, which transforms text into realistic graphics. All users have to do is type a series of words in a message to the program and the bot spits back an image seconds later. “I’m not going to apologize for it… I won, and I didn’t break any rules,” the 39-year-old Allen told The New York Times. 

Have we come to this? When a something is not specifically stated, it doesn’t mean we have broken the rule when the rules doesn’t exist, right? (Where are my NASCAR fans!) I guess, but there has always been a general understanding of moral and ethical boundaries that define a subject.  Humans have always used art as a way of expressing meaning. Only people seek meaning out of life. It’s the one thing that causes us to contemplate our existence and understand the call of our Creator.  We value the pursuit of meaning as we see the creative work of others in sculpting, music and canvas.  When a computer does it, where is the meaning? The computer just spits back what it is told, no emotion, no feeling, no desire.  No matter how “good” AI becomes, it will always be a tool, nothing more. It will never ask why or have a sense of meaning.  

Like all tools in the hands of a sinful people this AI will be used to short cut one’s desire in reaching success.  We can take this thought all the way back to the Garden.  Adam and Eve chose to eat the Fruit as a way to sidestep the rules of the Creator.  The first murder was committed due to a failed attempt to sidestep proper worship.  The Towel of Babel was started to sidestep God’s command to fill the earth.  We could go on and on with examples because they go to show our inability to escape that sinful desire to shortcut success. God’s judgment on sin was “By the sweat of your brow” (Genesis 3:19). But our saving grace is that God created us in His image. We have the desire to create, produce and discover the artistry ourselves.  This is a gift He shares only with humans as it is His way of establishing and growing in a relationship with us.  Sin has perverted this desire that results in laziness, vulgar and vile expression of what some call art.  When a soul is regenerated through Christ the gifts and ability of expression becomes a blessing and inspiration to all who witness because it causes us to think about the creator.  This is one of the great mysteries in ability that our Creator has given us.  A computer will never be able to replicate this to the level of the original source material. Only the Originator can bring true meaning.

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  Colossians 1:15-17

Serving the Savior,

Bro. Jonathan

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