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Real or fake, AI is here to stay, seniors are told

Staff writer

Tabor College President David Janzen provided information about AI last week to senior citizens at Shari Flaming Center for the Arts.

“For you farmers in the group, I want to assure you that I will not be talking about artificial insemination,” he said. “Let’s be sure we have the right topic.”

He has been giving his presentation on artificial intelligence at churches around the county.

“My goal is to provide some education on how AI has changed the world since Chat GPT was launched in November 2022,” he said.

His master’s thesis at the University of Kansas was on AI and machine learning, and his first job title was artificial intelligence analyst at Sprint in 1993.

Research on AI has been going on for years, he said, but release of the Chat GPT application was the first introduction to the general public.

In two months, he said, the app had at least a million users.

“You can ask it a question, and it will give you an answer,” he said. “It is not perfect. It sometimes makes up something that is not true.”

How it works is based on how the brain works. It gets its information from a huge database gleaned from the Internet.

“There are 120 mind-blowing tools available,” he said. “You can’t trust anything. Something that looks real may be fake, even video calls.”

Janzen encouraged his audience to use AI but to check results to determine whether they are true.

“It’s here to stay, and we have to get into it,” he said.

Pastors could use AI to develop sermons, or it could be useful in graphic design, he said.

But he also acknowledged that the world could be one deep fake away from disaster.

The first reaction to AI is fear, he said. It is scary because it seems to be smarter than humans.

Another objection is that AI will replace jobs. Yes, he said, but other jobs will be created.

“Will AI replace people?” he said. “No, we are created in God’s image, and software is created to serve humanity and improve quality of life. AI will enhance productivity, making us smarter.”

Janzen said AI would change what it means to be human.

“Brains can be scanned and digitized and live on in computers,” he said. “Humans can be enhanced with AI implants.”

From a Biblical perspective, Janzen encouraged his audience: “Do not be afraid. Be peaceful. Don’t worry. God loves us and wants to save us.”

A man in the audience asked whether AI could assist in love and caring.

Janzen said a person could create a friend or intimate partner who is not real but with whom they could interact. He didn’t recommend it, however.

One woman was concerned that AI was leading people away from God. A man was afraid of how AI could be misused.

“Fear is normal,” Janzen said, “but don’t live in fear. Fear can cause mental health issues.

“Instead, pray. God wins in the end. His power is over Satan. You don’t have to use AI tools, but you need to be educated about it.”

Last modified May 8, 2024

 

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