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Wisdom International Is Using A.I.—Here's Why:

by Stephen Davey

If you are a Friend of Wisdom, you recently received an email announcing the launch of WisdomA.I., a chatbot tool that allows people to more accessibly interact with our Bible teaching ministry.

As this program has rolled out, I’ve received many questions like this one: “Why would you create a tool using something as evil as A.I.?”

Artificial intelligence has certainly been in the news for the past two years and has become a major buzzword in our culture. But A.I. isn’t evil. I want explain briefly our moral and ethical position toward artificial intelligence and then provide a bit more clarity about how Wisdom International is specifically using these tools.

Artificial intelligence is nothing more than complex computer coding. It is not a moral agent; it is a neutral tool that can be used for good or bad purposes. I’m sympathetic to the fact that new and innovative technology can be scary to people. After all, the limits of A.I. have not been tested. But as Christians, we shouldn’t live in fear of advancement. God calls us to be in this world but not of it, which means we look for ways to redeem the technology and innovation of our world for gospel purposes.

None of us are old enough to remember the birth of Christian radio. But in my study, I’ve learned that many pastors spoke openly against the technology of the radio when it first came out. They twisted the passage of Scripture that calls Satan the ruler of the “powers of the air,” and applied that to the “airwaves.” They thought Satan controlled radio signals.

Of course, as people came to understand the radio better, Christian radio stations began to open, pastors began to put their teaching on the radio, and hundreds of thousands of people have been reached with the gospel through this tool. As of 2021, 20 million people listen to Christian Radio every single week—many of them hear our Wisdom for the Heart and Wisdom Journey broadcasts through the tool of the radio.

Remember, technology is a tool. Just as a hammer can be used to construct a hospital or murder another human being, so technology can be used for godly and ungodly purposes.

We record The Wisdom Journey on video cameras. Someone else might use the exact same model camera to film pornography, but we use that camera to share the gospel. The camera isn’t morally good or bad. The user will be judged by God for how they use these tools to help others or to harm them.

Artificial intelligence is a similar type of tool. A.I. can be used to help people access Bible teaching, or it can generate explicit images of another person. It can be used to translate content into various languages, or it can be used to “deepfake” a person, moving their mouths and copying their voice to make them say something they never really said.

Wisdom International seeks to be on the cutting edge of harnessing tools and technology for gospel impact. We are not scared of advancement. We are seeking ways to use this technology to become more efficient in our work and more expansive in our outreach.

Let me briefly mention how we intend to use and not use artificial intelligence. You can call this our internal code of ethics.

  1. We will not use artificial intelligence to create new content or interpret the Bible on its own.

The Bible says that God has revealed the truths of His Word to mankind, not computers. For us, that means artificial intelligence can be used to summarize our teaching and provide study tools and create an index of our videos (like our chatbot), but A.I. will never write or create its own content at Wisdom.

2. We will not use artificial intelligence to replace human creativity.

As image-bearers of God, humans are given the ability to create and express beauty in our world. That means the artistic work of Wisdom International will be done by humans, not A.I. Our magazine graphics and art are and will be designed by humans; our devotionals will continue to be written by our staff; video production and editing will be the artistic work of our team. When you call our ministry, you will speak to a real person and not a robotic, computer voice. We will not be using artificial intelligence to replace human creativity; A.I. is a secondary tool that will allow our team to be more efficient and effective in our work.

3. We will collaborate with Christian, gospel-focused artificial intelligence teams.

We want to make sure that we are aligned with partnering companies who share our values and want to spread the gospel more than they want to pad their own pockets. That means that our chatbot has been engineered by a team who desire to see gospel teaching go into the world and have built a tool to make that possible in a new, creative way. Because they share our goal to make gospel-teaching the focus, we know we are in good hands as we co-labor with them in our Great Commission.

4. We will continue to rigorously vet and do quality-control on our artificial intelligence tools.

Before we made WisdomA.I. available to the public, we vigorously tested it with sample questions to test this software to the limit. As we continue to train this program on my extensive Bible teaching, we will continue to check the answers of WisdomA.I. against the source material.

If you’ve already experimented with our chatbot, you may have asked it a question it was unable to answer. Rather than search on the internet, or make something up, our tool responds with, “Sorry, I can’t find the answer in Stephen’s teaching.” That answer ensures that you can trust that whatever answer you receive is directly attributable to our ministry, and cannot be plagiarized or made up. 

We have already received over 1,000 questions to WisdomA.I.. People have received biblically sound answers to questions like, “What if I’ve backslidden in my faith?” “ Where does Stephen stand on homosexuality?” And “Has there been fighting in the Middle East since biblical times?”

The appetite for an accurate, effective, one-stop place to receive theological, ethical, and practical answers from God’s Word is apparent, and we consider it a privilege to be able to provide this tool to bring glory to God in new and exciting ways.

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Carol newman says:
I understand your use of Ai but as it advances. I heard it said that these devices can begin to think on their own and make up their own answers.

WI Response: There are some IA tools that will generate answers. Our tool will not. If Stephen has not answered the question you asked, out tool will not give an answer.