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What’s the big deal about ‘artificial intelligence’?


This AI (or artificial intelligence) is everywhere.

We speak to our mobile phones, and it talks back!

It auto corrects our texts (and my typing errors.

We say ‘play WBFJ’ to our smart devices.  And it magically plays WBFJ.


From Star Wars to The Terminator, sci-fi robots with artificial intelligence can be lifesaving companions or a deadly menace.

Sci-fi meet 2024. We are surrounded by AI. Yet, just the mention of something artificial with intelligence brings caution. Even fear.

Likely fear of the unknown.


According to tech experts (most of which are under the age of 40), artificial intelligence is a technology that allows you to generate, classify, and perform tasks like image analysis and speech recognition. (AI) enables computers and digital devices to learn, read, write, create and analyze. (IBM)


Recently, my wife and I attended a ‘Lunch n Learn’ at Mt. Tabor United Church of Christ in Lexington on the very topic of artificial intelligence. I was totally interested to learn more. For Paula, it was likely the FREE pizza that sealed the deal.

Their guest speaker was Dr. Pooya Khorrami, an Al expert who works for Lincoln Lab at MIT. He gave an excellent talk with PowerPoint for the 50 and over crowd in attendance.  There was so much to ponder. Great info. Interesting questions at the end.

Dr Pooya wrapped his talk with this: Is artificial intelligence fundamentally good or evil?


“Well, AI is neither inherently good nor bad. It is a tool. A tool that can be used for both beneficial and harmful purposes, depending on how it is developed and how it is used. We should approach AI with caution and responsibility, ensuring that it is developed and used in an ethical and transparent manner.”


AI fascinates me. Using GPS for directions. My Toyota car beeping when I get too close to the yellow line. My Spotify suggesting additional artists and songs based on my playlists. All tools that make my life easier. More productive. Safer…


Tech researcher Jason Thacker digs a little deeper…

“Scripture shows that technology and tools can be used for both good and evil. Even if a tool was designed for evil, the tool itself isn’t evil. What is sinful isn’t the sword but how people choose to use it. It can be used for righteous purposes like standing up for justice against those who are evil, but it can also be used to hurt or kill the innocent.

While the technology isn’t moral in that sense, it does carry with it the effects of sin and brokenness. Technology is not morally neutral, because it influences and changes us each time we use it. Technology expands what is possible for humans to do. It can be best thought of as a catalyst or an accelerant for change because it opens new opportunities for humans to live in this world.

Broken, sinful, and evil humans are the ones given the abilities to create these tools and the ones who can choose how we use them. Paul reminds us that each of us has fallen short and needs to repent (Romans 3:23).    

The world itself did not sin. Our tools did not rebel. We did.                                                                                                               

In Genesis 4, we are introduced to Cain and Abel . Both Cain and Abel were created by God with specific skills and talents. Both used tools (early forms of technology) to work the ground and care for animals. But Cain sinned and chose to use his God-given strength and abilities to kill a fellow image-bearer. He chose to take the good gifts that God gave him and use them for evil and selfish purposes.”

“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ Jesus.”  Colossians 2:8 ESV

So, as we venture into our brave new AI world, may we use our new tools with caution and amazement. God is indeed bigger than anything we can create. Siri, is there really anything ‘new under the sun’?



More info on Dr. Pooya Khorrami and AI.  https://www.facebook.com/MountTaborUCC

*Jason Thacker serves as chair of research in technology ethics and director of the research institute at The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. He also serves as an adjunct instructor of philosophy, ethics, and worldview at Boyce College in Louisville, KY.





The WBFJ Wednesday Word is a weekly email written by the WBFJ Staff. It’s short, simple, encouraging and provides a look behind the microphone to the heart of this ministry and the people that help make it happen.

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