Church Uses AI to Lead a Service To Over 300 People
Jakob Aylesbury / 6 months ago
AI-Led Church Service
As reported by KTLA.com, St. Paul’s church in the town of Fuerth in Germany recently held a service that was led by AI. The service was an experiment conducted by Jonas Simmerlein from the University of Vienna for the bi-annual convention of Protestants that was taking place in the church with over 300 people at the service. The AI held a 40-minute service and used four avatars to personify itself including two young women and two young men with one of the men described as a “bearded black man”. The AI was given the prompt ‘We are at the church congress, you are a preacher … what would a church service look like?’ and started its service by saying “Dear friends, it is an honour for me to stand here and preach to you as the first artificial intelligence at this year’s convention of Protestants in Germany,”. Simmerlein also asked for the service to include psalms, prayers and for it to be finished with a blessing.
My first thoughts on this are that I hope that it remains a one-off experiment because it looks so dystopian. In KTLA’s article, they interviewed Heiderose Schmidt, a 54-year-old who works in IT who said that “There was no heart and no soul,” and generally found it off-putting as it went on. Another Pastor named Marc Jansen echoed similar thoughts about the lack of emotion or spirituality which is an essential aspect of the church. To me this feels like something that will not and shouldn’t catch on as AI just can’t replace a human in the church which is a very interactive environment. On the other hand though, there’s nothing against AI writing the sermons for a human to present.
What do you think of this, is this something AI should be used for? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.