A Haven for the Digital Age

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“Ordinary people may not understand artificial intelligence and biotechnology in any detail, but they can sense that the future is passing them by.”

“In 2018 the common person feels increasingly irrelevant. Lots of mysterious terms are bandied about excitedly in ted Talks, at government think tanks, and at high-tech conferences—globalization, blockchain, genetic engineering, AI, machine learning—and common people, both men and women, may well suspect that none of these terms is about them.”

Recently, I was reading an article in latest issue of The Atlantic called “Why Technology Favors Tyranny” by Yuval Noah Harari, bestselling author of Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow.  The two quotes above really stuck out to me because they capture the reason that most people avoid learning about new technology and why artificial intelligence brings about fear in many. It hit me that the fear often isn’t about the technology itself but rather that we will be overlooked and disregarded because we will be shown to have a lower value or worth than these new technologies.

Take for example talks of automation and job loss in relation to artificial intelligence. Nearly everyone that I talk to about artificial intelligence and the impact on work fear that this technology will displace millions of workers and they might be included in that number searching for a new gig or having to train for a new role in the near future. My own father retired early from the workforce because he didn’t feel up to the task of learning a new role or skill set. It’s not that the technology isn’t seen as valuable or able to make massive improvements in our society. We just fear losing our worth and dignity in light of such advances.

Technology is advancing at such a rate that it elicits fear in our hearts because we feel that we are going to be left behind and overlooked with the march of progress. But as a Christ-follower I know that my God knows every detail of my life, even the number of hairs on my head (Luke 12:7). He knows me better than I know myself and won’t ever forsake me (Deut. 31:6). This hope leads me to remember that as technological progress continues on,  I am safe and secure because God sees me and will always provide for me. But I also know that I don’t have to go at this life alone. I have a church family that will surround me to remind me of these biblical truths.

The Church has the unique calling in this world to be a haven for the oppressed, downtrodden, and forgotten. In our digital age, the Church will need to renew our commitment to loving those that society has forgotten or disregarded in the name of technological progress. This might mean that we pool resources together to care for those that have lost jobs or have been displaced. It might mean that we help our brothers and sister train for new jobs and even help them find gainful employment. The Church must respond because we know that all people are worth of dignity and respect because each of us are created in the image of God. Our contributions to society and our work do not equal our true value and worth. God made us and gave us worth. No amount of technological progress will be able to change that truth.

Rather than fear the impact of technology on our life, we should get involved and learn more about these revolutionary technologies like artificial intelligence because whether we want to acknowledge it or not, our world is changing and we need to get ready.

About the author

Jason Thacker

Jason serves as the Creative Director and Associate Research Fellow at The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. He is a graduate of The University of Tennessee and Southern Seminary. He writes and speaks on topics including human dignity, technology, and artificial intelligence. He is married to Dorie and they have two sons.

About

Jason serves as the Creative Director and Associate Research Fellow at The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. He is a graduate of The University of Tennessee and Southern Seminary. He writes and speaks on topics including human dignity, technology, and artificial intelligence. He is married to Dorie and they have two sons.

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