Hi, this is Bernie Dake. Welcome to the Salvation Army's Words of Life.
Welcome back to Words of Life. I'm Cheryl Gillum. And I'm Bernie Dake.
Hey, Bernie. So good to be with you today. If you've missed us in the past several weeks, we've been in a series about technology and the church with Jason Thacker. It really has been a cool series. And Jason opened up my eyes to viewing the technology around us in a much different way.
One of the concerns many people have about where our technology continues to head is automation and possible job loss. So that's what he and I dove into in our conversation today. And just a reminder, we would love to hear any questions you may have for us or for Jason.
Send us an email at radio at uss.salvationarmy.org or call 1-800-229-9965. Welcome back to Words of Life. We are glad that you're here. You know, Jason, we've been down so many roads. We've gone from artificial intelligence to the image of God. And we were just touching on the idea of automation and what that means in the workplace with people losing jobs and that kind of thing.
Let's dive into that. I think that's one of the most important aspects of kind of AI and technology is what is it doing to the nature of work? And I think that's kind of we've seen that in a very small way in some sense with the COVID-19 pandemic. I mean, the pandemic hit and millions of jobs were lost almost overnight and the devastation that had on our communities. And that's, I think, just a microcosm of what will be happening, kind of moving forward in some sense. There's predictions, especially with artificial intelligence and automation, that will have massive job loss. But at the same time, we'll have massive job creation.
You have new technology jobs that didn't exist before. And so there's a lot of questions, really pressing good questions to be asking about how technology, specifically artificial intelligence in terms of automation, is changing what our work is and what the nature of our work is. And I think that really gets back to really what we talked about in this past episode, talking about the nature of what it means to be human. I think we often assume that our humanity, our value and our worth is tied to what we do rather than who we are. And that's kind of what we talked about with that status approach is that we're created in the image of God that can't change. It can't be taken away from us.
It's not a value assigned to us. It's just who we are. And so I think that way it kind of revolutionizes in some sense the way we approach work. Because reality is AI is everywhere. We're already seeing in various specific areas kind of automation take over, whether we've seen this in factories, we've seen this in kind of the forthcoming self-driving car movement. And a lot of those questions is what happens when you have automation take over, where factories or assembly lines or drivers or various aspects of clerical work or all these different areas of work are taken over in some sense by artificial intelligence, either completely, our jobs are augmented where part of our job is taken over and given over to these machines. And so then these real questions, because again, it's easy to say, well, yeah, all this technology is great, but then you start to forget that there's enfleshed people, that there are people made in the very image of God who are losing their jobs. And we know studies have shown time and time again that when joblessness increases, substance addiction increases, sexuality and a lot of sexual issues specifically around pornography use skyrockets.
We see opioid crisis throughout our communities. And really throughout the world is that often when there's a loss of job or a loss of our identity in that sense, that we see these other massive social issues in our culture and our communities. And that's where I think, especially as a Christian, I think when I come to these conversations, you have to take a more holistic approach to understand there is good that's coming with these technologies, but these technologies aren't a whole bunch of red-eyed robots coming to steal all our jobs. Is that it's a little bit more complicated.
It's a little bit more nuanced than that. And that's where I think we just have to slow down a little bit as we've talked a lot about on the series so far, slowing down, asking the hard questions, the wise questions, and then realizing our work is something God has given us. It's a gift that He has given us. Interestingly enough, the work becomes before the fall. I think we often think of the old nine to five where you take the old punch clocks. A lot of younger listeners might not know what that is, but like a time clock.
You go clip it and you get a punch in your card or whatever. And we just think it's clock in and clock out. Our jobs, our work is just a necessary evil.
It's just something we have to do. Well, the scriptures speak a very different understanding of our work. All work is sacred in that sense because it's something we're created to do. It's something that we reflect God in what we do. And so having a better theology of work, to put a fancy term on it, a better theology of work grounded in the image of God helps us to navigate some of these thorny ethical issues surrounding AI and automation. I don't think this is one of the topics in the book, but since we're talking about jobs and work, as an employer, we're facing the idea of the great resignation. Technology has made it so people can work remotely. We've even talked about the idea that perhaps in your future you could work a little bit more remotely. I don't think that's a bad thing because this is where technology can be used for good. It may help the employer, but what we lose is that all important body of Christ sense where there's community.
We're actually physically in front of each other. And that's scary to me. I don't know if you could speak into that at all, but what I don't want to do is lose track of what we're not going to be able to cover in one more episode of this book. Are there any other hot topics that you just want to touch on that? Yeah, I think especially what you were talking about with work and the hybrid nature of work and remote work, that's a really important question facing businesses, facing communities even. And so I think there's some value to that. And that's something that as I think through this is it maybe opens up opportunities we didn't know about, some good benefits that for companies and for individuals and families, but at the same time there is a loss. And I think we have to acknowledge that, that typically anytime we make an ethical decision, there's some good that we may be putting aside. We may say, you know, this is the best path forward, but there were benefits to this other path. And so I think one of the ways that we see that is especially with remote work is you do, you lose that sense of camaraderie in some sense. So maybe there's a hybrid approach. Maybe there are better ways to think about these things.
I know for myself, I'm a researcher, a writer, an author, a professor. I can teach online in some ways, but in other ways I want to be in the classroom. I miss that.
I long for that. I want to be with my students. There's something about being physically with them.
Same with my coworkers, same with my colleagues, but then other things I can be at home and do just as easy and maybe quicker or maybe better in some sense because I'm not as distracted with kind of the everybody walking by my office, you know, 90 times a day or something like that. So you have to, I think it's just, it's one of those things that especially as we approach these really thorny questions and sometimes tense questions is to do so with care, with nuance, thinking not just of the specific situation, but really the wider context of what's going on and how this will affect not just this very specific instance, but really kind of our wider communities and the way we live and live out what it means to be created in God's image. And so having a better theology of kind of faith and work. And I think that's something, especially for those in the secular mindset or secular communities or secular work is your work is no less valuable, not just because it's not in the church, right? I think that's something that sometimes as Christians happens is we devalue work outside of the church. And I think that's where we have to kind of have this, our script flipped by the Lord to say, no, all work is valuable because it's reflecting God, it's imaging God and the things we do ultimately so that we can go back to Jesus's words of loving God and loving our neighbors, ourself.
Right. So Jason, along with that idea of remote working, you know, even church has had to go remote. You know, people are doing zoom hangouts and small groups and literally attending services electronically anymore. There's some writing about the website being the new front door of the church.
How would you speak into that? Yeah. And this is obviously it's can be a divisive question. People have very strong opinions about online church. I think kind of going back to some of those fundamental principles is when we look at the scriptures about the nature of the body of Christ is that not only is Christ incarnate, that was the whole purpose, you know, Christmas, He becomes enfleshed. He's a human being. He's physically with us. In the same sense is that we are the body of Christ as the church.
And so I think there's one thing that we can use these, especially technologies, in an interim for a season. And COVID taught us that. I mean, we can gather together in some sense. For my family, just a little personal aside, it was a little bit longer than most.
I mean, my wife for a few years was battling cancer. And we were isolated before and kind of quarantined before it was cool is the way we always talk about it. Before everyone was doing it, we were doing it. And we were attending kind of as much as we could.
We just physically couldn't gather with our church. And so there are obviously benefits to that, especially for those who have certain disabilities that are maybe homebound or with severe illnesses and things like that. And so that's why I try to say in this conversation specifically is that we have to be a little bit more holistic in how we think about it.
Because there are people who have... This is the way that, you know, for years, we were able to gather with our church even, albeit digitally, not physically gathering to hear the word preached, to be able to sing songs with one another. But at the same time, if I'm honest, there was something missing. There was this longing that both of us had to be with the church, not just seeing the church, not just passively kind of hearing the sermon or singing these songs.
It's a little different when you're in a room of people singing a song rather than just singing on your couch by yourself or with your family. And so there are obviously benefits to it. And this is really the big question you've seen a lot come up with the metaverse and kind of church in the metaverse and digital campuses and online church.
And I think they can be useful in very specific applications. But I think there is something that we'll lose. And I don't think it's a loss that maybe we want, a loss of community, a loss of embodied community with one another, the physical presence of one another.
Because while Zoom can be great and Facebook Live can be great, there's just something missing. And when you're grieving a loss or when you're dealing with something terrible that's happened in your life, you want someone with you. You want them to be able to put their arm around you and hug you and hold you and just to weep with you and to, as scripture calls us, to weep with those who weep. It's harder to do that mediated.
It's harder to do that through a piece of technology or a tool. And so while there are kind of wide opinions on this about the nature of the church in the digital age, I think we have to come back to these fundamental principles, specifically saying that the church is the body of Christ, the embodied nature of Christ, that we're with one another and we need one another. Not just to sing Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with one another, but to challenge one another, to rebuke one another, to love and care for one another, and not always do that through these technological means. And so while there are obviously benefits to it, and I think we won't have time to dig into it, but miss theological or missional benefits of technology, of sharing the gospel all around the world for people to hear and see, we still should prioritize the local gathering of the church because there's something unique about the way God created us to gather and to be physically present with one another.
Absolutely. It's never our desire to be divisive, but we want to have healthy conversations and Jason, that's exactly what you've brought to the podcast for this series. We've got one more episode left and we hope that you have enjoyed these episodes. Check out the previous episodes so you can get caught up for our last one next week.
Come back and join us as we talk to Jason Thacker, the author of the Age of AI. God bless you. The Salvation Army's mission, Doing the Most Good, means helping people with material and spiritual needs. You become a part of this mission every time you give to the Salvation Army. Visit salvationarmyusa.org to offer your support.
And we'd love to hear from you. Email us at radio at uss.salvationarmy.org. Call 1-800-229-9965 or write us at P.O.
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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-06 06:55:33 / 2023-04-06 07:01:46 / 6