Baptists Address Artificial Intelligence with an Official Statement on their Positioning
The growth of artificial intelligence (AI) has prompted an official statement from the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC has decided to bring forth an official statement about the challenges AI can bring in the light of personal faith. Right now, over 60 evangelical thinkers have already signed the document which works to contextualize AI in the Baptist faith.
The desire of the Southern Baptist Convention to release this document was rooted in the need to get ahead of the release of AI with an official position rather than having to face issues that emerge. The first article of the statement insists that “humanity’s creativity is intended to reflect God’s creative pattern,” thus establishing the idea that humans are responsible for the technology that they have created.
This is echoed later in the third section of the statement in Article 3: “Relationship of AI & Humanity.” Here, the SBC says “Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create.” The AI humans make is morally blameless because it cannot act as a moral agent. This seems to imply the humans who make AI are the ones who are going to be responsible for the outcomes of the AI.
Another interesting aspect of the official response to AI is the Southern Baptist Convention is choosing to embrace the medicine and health benefits that are developed through AI. After all, these are tools God has created to allow people to benefit and not suffer.
However, the SBC does not support all the uses of AI that have been thought about so far. For example, the SBC is against AI technology for sexual pleasure or to create a bias that will “reinforce or further any ideology or agenda, seeking to subjugate human autonomy under the power of the state.” This is important because it outlines the issues that the SBC believes AI could create for people. These difficulties are at the root of the religion, and take a critical stance on work, which is central to the idea of Christianity. Humans shouldn’t just seek a life of leisure even if it’s possible.
I am amazed to watch the Sou. Baptists wring their hands over AI "violate…human dignity for all people" when they have actively OPPOSED basic rights for all people under civil law. Maybe the SBC should consider getting their own act together first. https://t.co/7cJaZY7p7E
— (((Bunneh/Usagi-San))) (@BunnehUsagichan) April 19, 2019
All in all, the SBC’s stance on AI is significant because it looks at the past, present, and future for AI and provides Biblical positions and interpretations on many issues that are set to become problems in the future.