Lutheran church in Germany has AI deliver sermon


Tomorrow is Sunday, and millions of people will be heading to a church or a house of worship worldwide. Going to church has been a common practice for a long time, but the church may be changing, at least for some.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

A Lutheran church in Fuerth, Germany, experimented with artificial intelligence and had a chatbot deliver the sermon to the congregation of St. Paul’s church in Fuerth. According to the Associated Press, the ChatGPT chatbot took on an avatar of a “bearded Black man on a huge screen above the altar, then began preaching to more than 300 people.”

ChatGPT almost entirely generated the service and was 40 minutes long; it included music, prayers, and of course, the sermon itself. The event was created using ChatGPT by Jonas Simmerlein, a theologian and philosopher from the University of Vienna.

“I conceived this service — but actually I rather accompanied it because I would say about 98% comes from the machine,” the 29-year-old scholar told The Associated Press.

“I told the artificial intelligence, ‘We are at the church congress, you are a preacher … what would a church service look like?'” Simmerlein said. He also asked for psalms to be included, as well as prayers and a blessing at the end.

“You end up with a pretty solid church service,” Simmerlein said, sounding almost surprised by the success of his experiment.

Like it or not, AI is here and likely to stay. The world will get very interesting in the next few years as if it wasn’t already. Check out the AP for more on this story.

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