Indian snakes and ladders.

Artificial Intelligence and Spirituality

I asked a large language model chat bot:

Amara: Can LLMs (large language models) write meaningful content about spirituality?

AI: Large language models are powerful tools for generating text, but they are not suitable for creating content about spirituality. Spirituality is a complex and personal topic that involves one’s beliefs, values, emotions, and experiences. It is not something that can be easily captured or understood by artificial intelligence, which relies on data and algorithms. Language models may be able to mimic the style and vocabulary of spiritual texts, but they cannot grasp the meaning and significance of spiritual awakening and spiritual experiences. They may also produce content that is inaccurate, misleading, or offensive to some people’s faiths and traditions. Therefore, it is not a good idea to have large language models create content about spirituality.

Amara: Do you think lots of people will still use AI to generate spiritual content? If so, why?

AI: Despite the drawbacks and risks of using AI to create content about spirituality, some people will inevitably do so. They might do this for various reasons, such as curiosity, convenience, profit, or deception. Some people might be curious to see what AI can generate on such a topic, or they might find it convenient to use AI to produce content quickly and easily. Some people might use AI to create content for spiritual blogs, books, and videos in order to make money from advertising, subscriptions, or donations. Some people might even use AI to deceive others by pretending to be spiritual leaders or experts, or by spreading false or harmful messages. Therefore, people will inevitably use AI to create content for spiritual purposes, but they should be aware of the ethical and social implications of doing so.

Amara: Is there any way for the average reader to know if the spiritual content they’re interacting with was written by an AI?

AI: How can you tell if the content you are reading is authentic or artificial? It might seem hard to spot the difference, especially if the AI behind it is advanced and well-trained. But don’t worry, there are some ways to crack the code and reveal the truth. You can look for signs of inconsistency, error, or repetition in the text, or you can verify the author’s background, sources, or references. You can also use some handy tools or platforms that can sniff out or expose AI-generated content, such as GLTR, Grover, or FactCheck. And of course, you can trust your gut, your logic, and your common sense to judge the content and its message.

Can Artificial Intelligence Understand and Convey Spiritual Information?

I’m doing an experiment to see how well the currently available AI chat bots can understand what I’ve written about spirituality and personal growth. How well can it mimic comprehension? 

When it makes a synthetic version of one of my original articles, does it remain accurate, true to the original, helpful? Is there any spark or life in it? What does it mean to consume synthetic spiritual material? 

These are questions we’re going to have to confront as we move into this era of AI generated content. Now more than ever, discernment is crucial. 

My experiment

I simply give the original article to the AI bot and ask it to rewrite it, staying as true to the original content as possible. I originally expected that it would scan my material and simply restate what I wrote in a different way. That’s not at all what’s happened.

Results so far

The AI generally does not understand the original content at all, and yet it writes copious “rewrites” of my material. Often the result is nothing like the original at all, and in a few posts the AI has written incredible lies, even when it was not directed to.

Worst examples

Some of the most shocking lies? The AI introduced itself as me, and then listed off all kinds of credentials I don’t have. Speaking as me, it claimed to be a public speaker, a credentialed psychologist and — even more provocative — it added fake testimonials from fake clients! 

And then, to make it all seem friendly and inviting, it added a thank you emoji. Chilling. I was gobsmacked! 

The synthetic AI rewrites are clearly marked as such. I don’t want you to confuse it with my genuine work. 

What do you think about this? How does this change how you evaluate spiritual content you consume? 


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