AI and Religion
The world is constantly changing, and now technology is at the center of that change. Artificial intelligence is playing a crucial role in changing the way we live, including religion. It is evolving at an exponential rate and religious leaders are not about to repeat the mistakes of the past by denying and rejecting progress. On the contrary, they are embracing it, and it may well be that AI will potentially become in the eyes of society one of God’s messengers to make our lives easier.
Religious organizations are already using AI technology to spread their teachings and improve the practice of their faith. From apps that can be downloaded to help with daily scripture readings and prayer schedules to chatbots and even more sophisticated humanoid robots that are designed to perform ceremonies.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim community has launched the Open Quran website, which allows text searches of the Holy Quran in different languages. Japan has created a unique robotic humanoid, Peppa, programmed to perform Buddhist rituals and funeral ceremonies. And the Vatican has managed to go even further by creating the first exorcist robot of its kind. All these achievements are important for promoting religion and helping the faithful, but so far, AI cannot replace real priests.
Some religious groups fear that AI could allow computers to make their own decisions, which could be the beginning of the end for all humanity. On the other hand, the adoption of AI could be a powerful tool for communicating religious concepts to those who might not otherwise understand them. In this case, it would be a tool for spreading the faith.
Part of the concern about AI technology is that it could be used to optimize donations or other inappropriate activities that, if unchecked, would lead to significant abuse.
Nevertheless, one member of the Vatican has endorsed the combination of AI and religion, evaluating such a tandem as “an opportunity for evangelization. But users should not rely too much on technology in any case, as this could lead to an even greater sense of disconnection from God.