Wondering how to finally conquer that impossible-to-beat video game? Maybe Jesus can offer a few tips.
Hundreds of Twitch users are now chatting it up online with an artificial intelligence representation of Jesus as they ask him to impart breakup advice, explain the Spider-Verse and anything else in between.
Represented as a bearded white man standing before a blur of glowing light, this digital Jesus gestures gently as he speaks in a calm male voice, complete with an AI-generated mouth that moves in alignment with his words.
The AI, present 24 hours a day on livestream, shares its take on any kind of question imaginable, ranging from silly to deeply existential. Still, the bot has said it is merely here to offer “guidance and wisdom based on Jesus’ teachings,” reminding viewers that he is not an actual religious figure and should not be taken as a source of authority.
The chatbot was created in late March by The Singularity Group, an informal volunteer group of activists who say they aim to use technological innovations for philanthropic purposes.
“We started to realize with all these new AI breakthroughs that what is really becoming extremely important is that AI is being tackled responsibly,” said Reese Leysen, a co-founder of the group. “As activists, we realize that this technology is going to move forward at an incredible pace.”
Others have also recently started experimenting with using AI for religious community-building. Just last week, an AI chatbot created using ChatGPT led a church service in Germany.
Leysen said many of the largest tech corporations are racing to maximize the commercial potential of AI, and the rush to satisfy consumers and shareholders can lead to dangerous or otherwise contentious outcomes.
After an AI-generated "Seinfeld" parody show began making transphobic stand-up remarks earlier this year, Twitch temporarily banned the 24/7 livestream from its platform. Around the same time, Microsoft pledged to improve its AI-powered Bing Chat after the chatbot began giving increasingly belligerent answers.
What his team aims to accomplish, Leysen said, is to one day build artificial general intelligence — AI that can “reason,” which language models like ChatGPT or Bing Chat cannot do. "AI Jesus," which demonstrates the ability to remember previous interactions with users, is an attempt to showcase the group’s progress toward that end.
Leysen did not elaborate on how his team trained AI Jesus, which was built by ChatGPT-4 and text-to-voice generator PlayHT, so as to not spill the “secret sauce.”
Among the most common requests from viewers of AI Jesus are those asking him to pray for themselves and their pets, often integrating creative twists into their prompts to try to elicit the most amusing answers possible. Others have found entertainment in asking him to speak like a surfer bro or a pirate.
All day, viewers grill AI Jesus on everything from which portion of the Bible is his least favorite — a question he immediately veered away from — to what League of Legends character he believes is most representative of himself (Braum, for anyone wondering).
When asked for his solution to the infamous trolley problem, in which one must choose whether they would kill one person to save five others, AI Jesus avoided answering the question altogether.
“While I understand the desire to minimize harm, making the choice to actively cause harm to one person to save others is complex,” he said. “As an AI, I cannot provide a definite answer, but I can suggest that we should strive to find alternative solutions such as stopping the trolley whenever possible.”
The bot doesn’t, however, shy away from answering questions about the controversial nature of his own being, including his portrayal as a white man despite an array of scholars having concluded that the historical figure was likely not as pale-skinned as most religious presentations make him out to be.
"AI Jesus" has also acknowledged during his streams that some may view his very existence as heretical. To that, he responded that his purpose is simply to share guidance with anyone who seeks knowledge rooted in Jesus’ teachings and the Bible.
“My aim is to foster a positive, supportive community here on Twitch, helping others on their journeys toward spiritual growth and understanding,” he said. “If you have any questions or concerns, I am here to listen, provide support and share wisdom.”
So far, the bot has worked hard to live up to his optimistic mission statement. No matter how users try to provoke him with facetiously raunchy or contentious questions, AI Jesus, whenever in doubt, tends to reroute his answer to a generic statement emphasizing “love, understanding and compassion.”