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01/25/2023 11:00:00 AM


Sermon by Artificial Intelligence

(Reposted from the Forward)

The spiritual gap between humans and machines has gotten slightly smaller as a New York rabbi has turned to an unconventional source for help writing a recent sermon: an artificial intelligence chatbot.

In an address to the Jewish Center of the Hamptons congregation, a video of which was uploaded to Vimeo on Jan. 1, Rabbi Joshua Franklin warned that his speech was plagiarized and challenged the audience to guess who wrote it.

Franklin then launched into thoughtful oration on that week’s parsha, which included a description of Joseph’s forgiveness and embrace of his brothers and eventual saving of the Israelites. The passage was a launching point for discussing the importance of making ourselves vulnerable to others, including references to the work of bestselling author Brené Brown.

After concluding, Franklin revealed to gasps that he had fed a series of prompts to ChatGPT, an open-source artificial intelligence tool designed to interact in a way typical to human conversation. Since its launch, users have challenged the bot to do tasks like write songs in the style of Nick Cave, write a children’s book and create a Hanukkah movie script. Franklin told the Forward that it seemed logical to see how the tool would fare at sermonizing. While there have been robot priests, his sermon is likely one of the first to be written entirely by a machine. 

Sat, September 30 2023 15 Tishrei 5784