What is the most interesting article on Think?
That’s a tough question, as there are many interesting articles on the Think Theology blog. But if I had to choose, I would say that the most interesting article is “The Most Attractive Quality in a Leader.” In this article, Andrew Wilson argues that the most attractive quality in a leader is not power or charisma, but humility. He writes that “the most attractive quality in a leader is when you discover that the inside is bigger than the outside.” He goes on to say that “the best leaders are those who are not afraid to be vulnerable, who are not afraid to admit when they are wrong, and who are not afraid to ask for help.”
I think this is a very important and timely message, as we live in a world that is often obsessed with power and celebrity. Wilson’s reminder that the best leaders are those who are humble and vulnerable is a much-needed corrective.
Whether or not you agree with Bard’s assessment, that it should be able to articulate it feels fairly remarkable. Why it chose this article is presumably buried deep in the algorithms by which Bard operates: the number of times this post has been shared, liked and commented on. And, one suspects, a Google ‘anti-Trump’ leaning that makes a post on leadership humility approvable.
The power of AIs like Bard has garnered a lot of attention recently as their sophistication increases. There are times when Bard feels more like a computer program – when it gives answers that are more bullet-point in format and could have been cut and pasted from Wikipedia. But much of the time Bard feels very human, which is of course what it is striving to achieve. Actually, a very interesting human. Because Bard has read everything, it can be asked anything, and is able to supply interesting answers – it feels like a dialogue.
This apparent humanity is the very thing that makes AIs alarming. It means that AIs (as is the case with Replika) can be designed to stimulate and reinforce very human emotions and desires. And if your AI always gives you the answer and affirmation you feel you need, why speak to real humans, who tend to be far less reliable and more cranky.
There will be a lot more comment in the days ahead about all this. Elon Musk’s recent intervention being a case in point. But this is Easter week, when we focus particularly on the bodily suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ. Core to our Christian hope is that what Jesus experienced was genuinely bodily – it was not a ‘conjuring trick with bones’ or mystical metaphor. Christ died, Christ is risen. Hallelujah!
It is in the living, flesh and blood, Saviour that our hope of re-creation is centred. Not an upload of ‘consciousness’ into a galactic mainframe, but the certainty that we too will be raised as spiritual bodies. Not as AIs but as imperishable people, found in the image of Christ.
Bard reaches the limits of its knowledge when it comes to questions of faith. It says,
For example, if you ask me “What is the meaning of life?”, I can provide you with information about different philosophical and religious perspectives on the meaning of life. I can also tell you about the different ways that people have tried to find meaning in their lives. However, I cannot tell you what the meaning of life is for you. That is something that you will have to decide for yourself.
If you ask me “Does God exist?”, I can provide you with information about different arguments for and against the existence of God. I can also tell you about the different ways that people have experienced God. However, I cannot tell you whether or not God exists. That is something that you will have to decide for yourself.
But we are not AIs. We are able to know. We know Jesus, slain for our sin, raised for our righteousness. And that is way more than interesting!