This is not real…

Last week we posted an article and an image about using colour theory in websites; the thing is, we didn’t create them. In fact no human did. They were both generated by Artificial Intelligence.

I used Google’s Bard program to create the content and Open AI’s Dall-E to create the image. I must say that generally I was impressed with the results.

You see, I’ve been fascinated with creative AI for a while now, and interested to see the practical applications in the real world. It was good to gain a personal insight as I find the potential of AI both exciting and terrifying in equal measure!

I decided to generate the article with AI as I was curious to see how effective it might be as a tool to generate content, and to see if anyone would notice that we hadn’t created this stuff ourselves!

Admittedly we don’t have loads of followers on social media so it was probably unlikely anyone would have said anything, but even if people noticed that the style of writing was a bit off, or that the image looked a little wonky would be interesting to know (do email us if you did).

Now anyone that has been following the progress of creative AI for any length of time will know about the murky legality of the images created. They are regularly and clearly producing images that are at best inspired by artists and illustrators and at the worst downright plagiarising them. I must confess that I felt uncomfortable posting the image as it clearly the style of several illustrators that I am a fan of.

So the question that arises for Christians then, is: What are we to think about AI and how it’s used?

Here are a few thoughts that I’ve come up with as I’ve started thinking about it.

AI is just a tool, like any other

So far AI still has a long way to be perfect, as you will discover if you spend any amount of time reading about it, it’s only as good as the information it’s given, and even then there can be serious flaws. However, it can be a useful tool for us as humans to use, I find it helpful to generate ideas and inspiration, and sometimes information, but generally, right now I wouldn’t rely on it to do as good a job as humans do. That’s helpful to remember anytime new technology comes along, it’s only as good as the people using it.

Of course, there are many dangers associated with such a powerful tool like AI, the implications for things like bias in news and personal privacy could be huge, but likewise the potential for good for Christian ministry is also enormous and is something I may discuss in a future blog post.

The same could be said of any tool however, and seeing as humans are flawed and sinful there are always going to be ways that it can be used for bad as well as good.

We must always give credit where it is due

As Christians we are called to be people of truth, just as God is always truthful. As such we must do all that we can do avoid plagiarising the work of artists and creators, and always give credit to those creators whose work we use, or even when we suspect that the work generated is heavily influenced by a particular artist or artists.

Of course, that’s going to be more and more difficult with AI generated content, and we won’t always be able to identify exact artists or writers from which the AI has learned, but we can do out best to continue to support human creators and encourage others to do the same*.

As Christians, we must celebrate the humans that are responsible for the creativity we see all around us and the joy it brings us. But above all, we must give glory to God for the joy of art and design, and the tools that we have to make and enjoy it (including AI).

God is sovereign

Whatever you think of AI; whether it’s the best tool humans have had for generating and spreading information since the printing press, or the worst possible thing we’ve ever made that will ultimately bring about the destruction of the human race, we must not forget that God is sovereign.

None of this technology has taken him by surprise. In fact he’s preordained it, and is using it as a tiny cog in his big plan of redemption and bringing everything under the Lordship of Christ. With this in mind we don’t need to fear AI, God certainly doesn’t.

With this is mind then, as Christians we can seek to use AI as a tool to glorify God, and where possible use it as a way to bring others to saving knowledge of Christ. With AI still in relative infancy, it will be some time before we start to fully understand how best to use it in such a way, but I would like to suggest it would be a wise course of action for us to start thinking about now.

In the end, only God knows the full potential and dangers of AI for the human race, but as Christians our hope is not in technology, but in the ruler of all creation (including Artificial Intelligence) the Lord Jesus Christ. As each new year brings change and advances in technology and computing we can put our trust fully in the one who “does not change”.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss these things with us further, please don’t hesitate to contact us, we’d love to hear from you about this or any other subject related to the gospel or creativity.

*While it’s impossible to know fully which artists and Illustrators Dall-E was trained on, I would like to suggest a few that I think inspired the image in my original post: Stephanie Unger, Malika Favre, and Violeta Noy amongst others.

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