AI: The Digital Revolution Bridging Faith, Business and Innovation

Uzoma Isichei provides insights on how churches, business owners and individuals can utilise artificial intelligence (AI) in 2024 and beyond

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you will have heard about artificial intelligence (AI), but you may not realise you have been using it if you have ever used Alexa, Siri, or said, “Hey Google!” to your phone.

I sometimes think that people consider artificial intelligence as something they can bypass or ignore, as though it’s a passing fad or only “for the kids”.  Well, to adopt a popular phrase, you should believe the hype.

AI’s major selling point is its ability to communicate like a person. (It doesn’t actually think, even though it seems like it does.) However, it can now form the basis of many tools designed to help make our lives easier. For example, we use Google Maps or Waze to get around now. When did you last unfold and use a paper map?

However, a prime example of popular AI now is ChatGPT, which can function as your sounding board, quasi-proofreader, researcher and so much more. For instance, you can take a picture of the ingredients in your fridge, upload them to ChatGPT and, in seconds, it will suggest a recipe for your evening meal.

From time to time, authors have asked social media followers to choose between and give feedback on various book covers. Nowadays you can upload the designs to ChatGPT and ask it for an objective opinion and suggestions for improvement.

I am excited, knowing that ChatGPT was only launched in 2022.

I am excited, because Black entrepreneurs are often at the tail end of learning new technology and are therefore greatly disadvantaged. But guess what? The entire world is learning about this at the same time. You can find short videos on the BBC website or do a free course online from Harvard University. However, you could be at a disadvantage if you choose not to learn about AI now.

You may not immediately see a place for AI in your business or ministry, but there are likely to be a few tools that can bring you amazing benefits.

The AI Christian Partnership says AI “…has the potential to be a powerful tool for ministries … when used in a way … consistent with Christian values.” For example, the simple addition of a chatbot to a website can help answer frequently asked questions from parishioners or visitors. By transcribing sermons in real time, churches can make the message accessible to members with hearing difficulties. And, for the more adventurous, adding virtual reality (VR) means a ministry can even offer immersive tours. Imagine organising a tour of the Holy Land, but without the flights and hotels!

I will acknowledge there is a valid discussion about AI taking jobs, implementing large-scale fraud, or all out taking over the world, either now or sometime soon. It is still early in development to be overly concerned that it will replace most humans. However, I would suggest that the advantages can potentially outweigh everything negative you may have heard. So, with just a little research, it is possible to find tools that can make your life so much easier and save you time and/or money. Many tools are free or offer a free trial period for you to see if you like how they work.

Another point worth noting is that these technologies are developing at a speedy rate, so developers say that the tools are in their ‘beta stage’, meaning “There may be mistakes while it learns.” In fact, the terminology ‘AI hallucinations’ describes that whenever AI doesn’t have the right information, it can literally just make stuff up.

Also, AI learns from its users, so it can learn sexist or racist behaviour and thereby provide imbalanced information. This is why there are calls for safeguarding. However, on average, the equivalent of millions of pounds is being invested daily into getting AI up to spec, so the improvements are happening quickly. This also suggests that once developers believe the technology functions perfectly, charges may apply.

Since the worldwide pandemic, all churches and ministries have seen the wisdom in using social media to amplify their message and the work they do. By utilising AI as an indefatigable extra volunteer, you can really maximise your outreach and engage with a broader audience.

By embracing AI tools, we can revolutionise the way faith communities interact, businesses can potentially explode exponentially, and both can spread their messages faster and more efficiently.

Uzoma Isichei works with business owners, showing how digital tools like social media strategy, marketing and AI help them sell more. Reach him at Uzoma@UzomaSolutions.com or 0790 375 1372.

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