WeeklyTech #32

How the dreams of robot pastors reveal a deficiency in the church

My wife and I love our local church. But since my wife began her chemotherapy treatments for Hodgkin’s lymphoma late last fall, we haven’t been able to join on Sunday mornings for worship. Instead, we have the blessing of watching the Sunday sermon on our television while our toddlers run free in the playroom. This is not the ideal option for us, but we would rather have this than nothing.

While many people debate the use of technology in the life of a local church (and for good reason), no one I know is debating the use of artificially intelligent (AI) pastors or robots performing religious rituals. But in many places throughout the world, debate on this very concept is beginning to emerge, and the conversations surrounding AI in religion are beginning to heat up. 

As observers look at the technological marvel of robot clergy alongside the rising interest in spirituality among young people, some have proclaimed boldly that AI may be the future of religion itself. From robot pastors to personalized online churches, these visions of the future reveal a disturbing trend and a major deficiency in the way we think about the nature and role of the church body.

Interesting technology stories

Trump budget proposal boosts funding for artificial intelligence, quantum computingThe Hill

President Trump’s budget proposal unveiled Monday includes significant funding increases for research and development of artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing.

Federal Judge Gives Blessing to T-Mobile and Sprint MergerMorning Brew

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero ordered T-Mobile and Sprint another Shiraz and left them alone with the room key. 

A Growing Presence on the Farm: RobotsThe New York Times

A new generation of autonomous robots is helping plant breeders shape the crops of tomorrow.

There’s a new obstacle to landing a job after college: Getting approved by AICNN Business

College career centers used to prepare students for job interviews by helping them learn how to dress appropriately or write a standout cover letter. These days, they’re also trying to brace students for a stark new reality: They may be vetted for jobs in part by artificial intelligence.

The White House wants to spend hundreds of millions more on AI researchMIT Technology Review

Worried that the US risks falling behind China in the race to build next-gen technologies, security experts have pushed the Trump administration to increase its funding.