A.I ; B.Don’t know for sure

This past Saturday, I was at a talk by scientist, theologian, and Franciscan sister, Dr. Ilia Delio. She writes, speaks, and studies at the beautifully, mysteriously, adorned intersection of science and religion. Evolution, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ, and the new Cosmology all factored into the presentation she offered. Entanglement was touched on; so too Cyborgs; and the idea that the mystery of matter is what the Christ is about. She also used the image of magnets at one moment when contending that We can only unite as a species if we are different from each other—Self realization will mean realizing our uniqueness and that uniqueness will be what attracts. That force of attraction is the force of love-energy…the most universal, most tremendous, most cosmic energy. In fact, according to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the physical structure of the universe IS Love.

FASCINATING. And, both within grasp while also feeling just beyond. Dr. Delio also posed a question— Does the future need us? Bring on the topic of Artificial Intelligence. I will forgo a deeper dive into my notes and simply say—having read several articles on ChatGPT and hearing about it again this weekend, I wanted to have a look-see with Dr. Delio’s question knocking around my head at the same time.

I am absolutely a fan of Siri and how she is helpful for certain tasks—albeit seemingly small ones. Information retrieval (Recent ask: “Hey Siri, what are the most common kinds of English Heritage Apples?”); Helpful tasks (Hey Siri, set a timer for 35 minutes; Hey Siri, set a reminder for tomorrow morning at 8AM about picking up the car from O’Regan’s); Directionals (Hey Siri, I’m lost. Please get me home.) It’s rather amazing and she’s great at supplying the info I solicit or carrying out with unemotional efficiency the task I assign.

This ChatGPT, though…this is entirely Next Level. Give her—Monica, as it turns out—some basic parameters and she’ll turn out a research paper, a story, an essay… This is obviously of concern for many—as well it might be. And it has extraordinary implications.

Once I downloaded the ChatGPT extension for Chrome, I took it for a drive—just a cruise around the block really—nothing of consequence. I asked her to write me a story about vampires. (For a friend who is aching lately and has a fondness for vampire tales…) She did—in the blink of an eye. The amount of text was not insignificant. It was grammatically correct according to the English spoken and written where I petitioned the tale. It had a beginning, a middle, and an end. But after reading it, if I didn’t know it was written by AI and not an organic being, I’d say there was something lacking in ME, not in the coding/algorithmic wonder-weaving Monica.

It was undeniably astounding—for a machine production based on “Please write a story about vampires.” But as I read it—both inside and aloud—I kept wondering, Where is the intonation here? Where is the life that lifts it off of the page/screen and into something I can walk within and admire?

If I didn’t have those questions arise, based on same-sounding structure; based on clunky transitions and way too clear demarcations between segments of the dramatic curve; based on being left with an overall plot ho-hum-ishness…If I didn’t have those questions, I would question why.

Have I not had sufficient recent experience of friendship? Have I not greeted a stranger or told another person about a bit of beauty I encountered in the last little while? Have I not recently danced or listened to music or encouraged another or created something or listened to someone’s story of grace, despair, curiosity, or the revelation of God, made manifest in their life and being?

Here’s the thing… I miss Heart in this text; I miss the creative breath of a human being infusing the syllables with the anti-gravity of imagination even as they rest there waiting to be freed by a reader. And I miss this Heart because I am graced to know what it feels like. I know it and it knows me. Distinct, unique, and attracted… Evolving together toward a wholeness that is beyond my wildest reckoning.

Will the future need us? Honestly, I have no idea. Until that moment in time when my earthly journey turns toward the beyond, I do know that I need us…loving, creating, entangling, and falling forward into whatever it is that lies ahead.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Marie Hay says:

    Totally captivating! Thank you


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s