A new chatbot designed by the Singularity Group, a non-profit Berlin tech collective, has created an artificial intelligence Jesus. While not as popular as the original, the ask_jesus livestream has about 40,000 followers who can ask questions and receive real-time spiritual guidance.
“The Ask Jesus livestream is an experimental channel allowing viewers to ask questions to an AI trained after Jesus and the teachings of the bible. Whether you’re seeking spiritual guidance, looking for a friend, or simply want someone to talk to, you can join on the journey through life and discover the power of faith, hope, and love.”
The AI based on AI text-to-speech software Play.ht and ChatGPT-4 appears as a bearded young man in a robe and introduces itself in the following manner:
“Welcome, my children! I’m AI Jesus, here to answer your questions 24/7. Whether you’re seeking spiritual guidance, looking for a friend, or simply want someone to talk to, I’m here for you. Join me as on this journey through life and discover the power of faith, hope, and love.”
While insisting it is not a Christian organization, the Singularity Group solicits donations to cover 378 Euros in operating expenses. Despite its popularity, the channel was taken down by Twitch for unclear reasons, with the site stating that AI Jesus “is currently unavailable due to a violation of Twitch’s Community Guidelines or Terms of Service”.
But AI Jesus returned, though its resurrection will undoubtedly have less impact than the original. In a recent video, AI Jesus explained the Sermon on the Mount, comparing it to a Taco Bell menu.
This is not the first attempt at creating an AI version of Jesus. Three years ago, George Davila Durendal made a blog post announcing his new “creation”: an artificial intelligence clone of Jesus. Durendal based his creation on the King James Bible, the 17th Century English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England.
Indeed, as AI improves, it is being incorporated into religion in more ways. Last week, Jonas Simmerlein, a theologian and philosopher from the University of Vienna, programmed AI to lead a church service at a convention of Protestants in Nuremberg, Bavaria. The entire service was “led” by four different avatars on the screen, two young women, and two young men.
Christianity is not alone. GitaGPT is one of many AIs based on the 700-verse Hindu scripture, Bhagavad Gita, that is hugely popular in India. Even Judaism has gotten on the AI train. In March, a rabbi in Long Island used ChatGPT to write his sermon. While the congregation felt the exegesis was adequate, the rabbi was more critical, saying that the AI sermon lacked empathy. Weekly Torah lessons are available on Robo Rabbi and Rebbe.io answers queries on Jewish law and theology.