Back so soon reader!
Well, I'm glad you are because today we are reviewing Devotionals from a Soulless Machine: A Journey of Faith Through Artifical Intelligence by Preston Lewis and Harriet Kocher Lewis. This book is unlike any I've ever read, mostly because it is theological at its core and it involves some investigation into ChatGPT, the AI program available to all.
I was curious to pick up this book because I am very wary of AI. And in all honestly, I am wary of religion as well. I am not a religious person, and if you forced me to place a label on myself - I'd say I was agnostic. However, just because I am wary, does not mean that I am unwilling to learn. So, I dove in to Devotionals and was pleasantly surprised to find a work that kept my attention and was truly a learning experience for me. I am a inquisitive person by nature, and I am forever curious about others and their POVs and experiences. In Devotionals I found a work that I saw as dedicated to those who believe in or want to believe in God. And in that work, I also found a gateway to that want or need - and that was with ChatGPT/AI.
In the very small amount of experience I have had with ChatGPT/AI, I found that this big, scary thing I had made up in my mind was, still big and a little scary, but also - helpful. I believe most things are helpful in such a way and it is us, humans, that twist and turn them into something different and sometimes, malicious. When I used ChatGPT, it was to search for a concise list of ways to offer self-help ideas to college students. Preston and Harriet have done something similar in seeking out AI to help it bridge, culturally, from them (or the collective "them") to the younger generation. In both scenarios, AI is used as a tool to assist in the grand scheme of things.
So, all in all, this is not my usual read. I am not religious, nor do I seek to be. However, I believe anyone with an open mind can get something out of this work. Whether it's because they are wavering in their faith, strong in their faith, or simply curious - this is a unique work that offers a unique experience.
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