Hot take on AI, empathy, and God

There’s a kerfuffle on Twitter this week because a chat-based counseling service hooked itself up to the latest AI chatbot. People needing help posted their issue, and the chatbot suggested a response to a counselor who decided whether to use it. This is what I assume also happens these days when I talk to a human for tech support.

Recipients preferred the advice from the chatbot…until they found out it was written by a chatbot. Then they didn’t. Any sense of empathy or feeling seen evaporated in an instant.

The current ramp-up in AI applications is providing daily reminders that humans are animals. In this case, a reminder that we are social animals who need to perceive empathy from other humans. It’s not only the message sent that matters - but also the message that’s received.

God has dealt with the issue of humans’ need for empathy in communication for much longer than AI has. If God said, “It kills me to do this, but I forgive you for trying to do your own thing. I’ll accept you if you want to trust and obey me again,” the message wouldn’t connect. He needed to become human and literally be tortured and executed so we could understand the gravity of his forgiveness.

Written on January 18, 2023