Evangelicals take on artificial intelligence

S. Joshua Swamidass, associate professor of Pathology & Immunology in the School of Medicine and associate professor of Biomedical Engineering in the School of Engineering


Science fiction often depicts artificial intelligence as technical minds embodied in humanlike bodies. Think Commander Data of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” In reality, AI is mindless and usually disembodied. Yet it’s still important, and scientists shouldn’t be the only ones with a say in its future.

The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention recently laid a marker down with “Artificial Intelligence: An Evangelical Statement of Principles.” The document addresses topics from sex and medicine to accountability and the image of God. The common theme: What does it mean to be human?

It’s encouraging to see religious leaders consider the implications of new technology. Yet as an artificial-intelligence scientist and evangelical Christian, I found the document disappointing.

Read the full piece in the Wall Street Journal.