back to article AI threatens to automate away the clergy

God bless this mess. The UK's Department for Education has crunched the numbers and found that the country's clergy of all things is among the professions most at risk from AI. "The impact of AI on UK jobs and training" report [PDF] was published yesterday as an attempt to quantify the ramifications of the wunder tech for the …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kind of misses the point...

    Running the Sunday services and writing sermons is a minor part of the Clergy's duties.

    Yes, you can "program" a service in (for example) the Anglican churches, but that's largely because there is an existing order of service laid out. Getting an AI to do house visits and all the other pastoral support tasks will be a little tricker.

    On the other hand, if they replaced the General Synod with AI, who would notice?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Kind of misses the point...

      Can AI lead a crusade against the infidels? Can it root out and punish the sinners/unbelievers/people-who-believe-in-a-slightly-different-version-of-the-same-thing ?

      Can it persecute people that like to put their ding-dong in a different ooh-ooh (and say so in public instead of just doing it and lying about it)

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Kind of misses the point...

      The clergy I've known have worked incredibly long, and sometimes unsociable hours, doing stuff an AI would be totally useless at.

      Although I'd maybe possibly agree about the sermons. Many human clergy probably aren't that good at those, becuase it's one thing to base a sermon on a bible verse or a topic - it's another to make it something interesting that people will actually listen to. But that's a couple of hours writing/planning and twenty minutes talking against a week of organising a complex social hub / community organisation and then dealing with a lot of other peoples' problems.

      When my Mum (the one who dragged me to church many years ago) was a nurse and had a dying baby on her hands - it was the local vicar who came out to try and comfort the parents - and then offered them counselling and helped set up the funeral afterwards. And that often meant turning up at hospital at 3am and not leaving for a couple of hours. As well as the more mundane stuff, like making sure the church was in working order for the mothers and toddlers groups a couple of mornings a week, and the lunch club for the local sheltered accommodation.

      I've known more clergy have to take time off with stress than any other profession I can think of. Because it's a hard and not well paid job. And one it's very hard to get away from, because everyone knows where you live and people struggling in life can sometimes be quite demanding. And you're often not dealing with easy situations.

      Whatever you might think about their beliefs. The clergy I've knon have failed to persuade me to any faith in God, but the majority of them have imnproved my faith in humanity.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Kind of misses the point...

        And it was the nuns at catholic school that explained to me that although BandAid was OK, cos that rude singer was a nice catholic Dublin boy, the reason the 'black babies' were starving was because their heathen superstitions meant they couldn't eat cows

    3. katrinab Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Kind of misses the point...

      Indeed, and you have been able to watch sermons on TV since at least 1961 (Songs of Praise, I'm sure there were others before that).

    4. unimaginative
      WTF?

      Re: Kind of misses the point...

      That is true, so is that problem that the people running the study do not know what the clergy do?

      In that case, I would also question whether they know what the other jobs really involve. If you look at paper describing the methodology it involves assigning scores to the importance of 52 abilities to each job. Did they do a study of each job to measure that? I doubt it. They almost certainly assigned weights based on what the researchers thought. Lots of method, but based on poor data so the whole report is a waste of time and this is just an example of why.

  2. KarMann Silver badge
    Trollface

    As far as we know, ChatGPT doesn't commune with the big guy upstairs.
    Then again, as far as any actual evidence goes, neither do humans, either.

    1. Adair Silver badge

      I wonder what would constitute 'evidence' in this particular context, given that for those who trust in God's active presence and those who do not, plus those who are firmly on the fence, are all equally convinced of their respective positions, which if 'agency' is a thing is fair enough.

      We are all free to take responsibility for our choices in this matter, along with all sharing in the consequences of our choices.

      1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

        Evidence

        Evidence of god's existence, for me, would be dead easy. Something like "Hi god, make a filing cabinet appear on my lawn - a pink one full of soldering iron bits, then turn it into a flamingo". If it all happened then that would be evidence enough for me. I use a trivial example because for years the faithful have been praying for serious stuff like curing disease, erasing hunger, stopping wars, make daddy stop hitting mummy, etc. and none of that's happened, so I thought that maybe a change of focus might get his/her/its attention.

        1. John Miles

          Re: that would be evidence enough for me

          Or maybe evidence things like transporters and replicators or even just holodeck technologies from Star Trek were real.

          I'm not sure there is anything that could prove the entity demonstrating they were God couldn't be they just have very much more advanced technology available to them.

          1. John H Woods Silver badge

            Re: that would be evidence enough for me

            insert famous Arthur C Clarke quote

            1. Paul Kinsler

              Re: insert famous Arthur C Clarke quote

              Ah, I know this one:

              "Any sufficiently crappy magic is indistinguishable from technology"

              Do I win a prize? :-)

          2. theOtherJT Silver badge

            Re: that would be evidence enough for me

            What, indeed, does God need with a starship?

        2. Adair Silver badge

          Re: Evidence

          Hopefully the reasons why that kind of 'proof' remain in our head, where they belong, are obvious; if not, give it some thought. :-)

        3. Bebu Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: Evidence

          Douglas Adams seems to have arrived at similar conclusion. :)

          Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mind-bogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as the final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.

          The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist,'" says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."

          "But," says Man, "The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."

          "Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

          "Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Evidence

            So what you're saying is that USB-C proves G*d exists and so he/she/they don't

      2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Evidence

        In science, the test of truth is an experiment. The problem with experiments relating to religion is they often violate CIOMS guidelines for ethical research on human subjects. For example the indigenous people of the Amazon tested Christianity by crucifying missionaries. They got a null result: none of the missionaries came back from the dead. This experiment has obvious replication issues. A Christian could argue that crucifying missionaries is not counter to CIOMS because it is in the best interest of the missionaries - they go to heaven. Try taking that argument to UKRI and see if they will give you a research grant.

        1. zuckzuckgo Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Evidence

          > the indigenous people of the Amazon

          Clearly they have a better understanding of the scientific method than most god fearing westerners.

        2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

          Re: Evidence

          The problem with experiments relating to religion is they often violate CIOMS guidelines for ethical research on human subjects.

          However there are natural experiments, which have been analysed. Specifically, in the 19th century people prayed for the health and longevity of monarchs and their immediate families, but not for the nobility. As nobles tend to have similar genetics to monarchs(*) and live in similar circumstances which would suggest similar expected lifespans, if prayer works there should be a statistically significant difference in lifespans between royals and nobles. There isn't.

          (*) Because the bunch of them are inbred.

          1. SundogUK Silver badge

            Re: Evidence

            "...if prayer works there should be a statistically significant difference in lifespans between royals and nobles."

            Not true. He may be listening and hearing your prayers but choosing to ignore them.

        3. Scott 26

          Re: Evidence

          > For example the indigenous people of the Amazon tested Christianity by crucifying missionaries

          Harry Harrison used it as a plot device in his short story The Streets of Ashkelon

        4. unimaginative
          Angel

          Re: Evidence

          > The problem with experiments relating to religion is they often violate CIOMS guidelines for ethical research on human subjects.

          There is a deeper problem.

          What are the null and alternative hypotheses?

          One experiment that has been done is testing whether prayers work by asking people to pray for randomly selected sick people and see whether they recover better than a control group. This specifically tests for the existence of a God who is willing and able to answer prayers for the sick, but does not take any account of motives and is willing to provide this experiment.

          > the indigenous people of the Amazon tested Christianity by crucifying missionaries

          Really? Sounds like a distorted version of an SF story I read.

          That said, it is another bad experiment. Do Christians believe that anyone who is crucified comes back from the dead? Obviously not, so the null hypothesis is not a test of Christianity.

          1. katrinab Silver badge
            Angel

            Re: Evidence

            Yes, but how do you know that some other person didn't pray for people in the control group? That would mess up the experiment surely?

            Also, there's people who regularly pray for all the sick people everywhere, so if that is as effective as praying for a named individual, then it would be impossible to create a control group of people who weren't prayed for.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      >As far as we know, ChatGPT doesn't commune with the big guy upstairs.

      All ChatGPT does is recycle existing published sources it has found and rehash them into a new story without understanding any of the meaning.....

    3. Dr. G. Freeman

      I don't want to commune with the Big Guy.

      Scared of a slap to the back of the head, and a God-like voice booming "Gordon, you muppet..."

  3. Martin Summers Silver badge

    Well I personally see no difference between an AI hallucination and religion, so it might as well happen. There's no real difference between some religious types making up a story to control the world and its' population and an artificial intelligence doing the same. Maybe God is an AI.

    1. Adair Silver badge

      Interesting how 'religion' is used as though somehow that word communicates a generic truth to which anything so labelled must adhere, i.e. that it's all rubbish.

      Imagine applying the same logic to 'politicians' or 'lawyers, or even 'computer coders' - oh, sorry, we do that already.

      Very convenient for anyone who just doesn't want to have their 'position' questioned, most of all by themselves.

    2. Evil Auditor Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Maybe God is is too much of an insinuation for my taste, but I fully agree with what you wrote. I assume, if you believe in imaginary stuff, you are more likely to believe in artificial imaginary (AI) stuff, too.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't know about psychologists. If you tell ChatGPT you have negative feelings, it tends to tell you to see a psychologist. Fairly insistently, even. I can't really see many people switching to ChatGPT from a real psychologist, but I could see many people switching from just bottling it up (still our society's most popular way to deal with minor mental health issues) to telling ChatGPT, and from that to a psychologist.

    >As far as we know, ChatGPT doesn't commune with the big guy upstairs.

    At the risk of drawing the ire of the faithful, we don't really know that for humans either.

    1. Aladdin Sane

      Favourite way of dealing with major mental health issues as well.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    World's simplest AI

    Randomly respond to all queries with one of "Yes", "No" or "That would be an ecumenical matter." Job done.

    Call it Just A Clerical Knowledgebase or something.

    1. KarMann Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: World's simplest AI

      Do we have enough whiskey [sic] to fuel such an AI?

      Next best thing: -->

    2. Chris Roberts

      Re: World's simplest AI

      Forty years ago I wrote a twenty questions game that just pseudo randomly answered Yes or No. After an answer the player could choose 'Ask another question' or 'Play Again' - unless they hit twenty in which case they got a sorry you lose, play again?

      I got quite a few fellow uni students to try it and being logical science types they would run through until they got a Yes for a question they thought was the correct answer. Surprisingly few of them noticed what I had done and were amazed by the programs ability to understand the questions. It was fun for a few hours at least.

  6. CaNsA
    Big Brother

    Surprised....

    There's not a TXH1138 reference yet.

    https://i.imgur.com/FZbZ7uY.png

    1. Frumious Bandersnatch

      Re: Surprised....

      THX

      I checked it to make sure I was right, but for a while there I couldn't decide which order was correct. Letter blindness set in.

  7. heyrick Silver badge

    "They are really mundane jobs that should be automated – and how we even let people pick up these kind of jobs is really criminal."

    As a person who works in such a food factory (though not on the production line)...

    1, Machines are shit and prone to endless failures unless you pay me for the good ones, at which point it's often cheaper to employ meatsacks (plus meatsacks are way superior to machines when it comes to switching to making a different product or maybe even something new).

    2, There's a huge amount of discrimination when it comes to employment. You want to work in a lab that puts semen into syringes for inseminating pigs, cows, etc? Fine, let's see your three years in university and all previous experience and we'll start you on minimum wage.

    Or you could just get up at 5am and stick cherries on cakes for seven hours for minimum and the employer won't give much in the way of respect but you'll have a job so long as you turn up on time.

    What would these sorts of people, that didn't get the opportunity to get fancy pieces of paper, do otherwise? Haunt the local food banks? At least when they're working (even in menial jobs) they are productive.

    No, man, what's criminal is the little people who "add value" by making the stuff get paid peanuts, while the shareholders get to cream off the profits and make more money for doing diddly-squat.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      at which point it's often cheaper to employ meatsacks (plus meatsacks are way superior to machines when it comes to switching to making a different product or maybe even something new).

      That's a fine paradox, where meatsacks are superior to machines and yet are cheaper.

      Plus the machine won't go for a cheeky spliff between sticking cherries and talk about string theory and how everything is connected.

      1. bofh1961

        From a meatsack's POV

        I'm a meatsack working on a variety of production lines for a manufacturing company. We all know that we'd be replaced with robots if the firm could afford the CapEx to actually do it. Robots tend to cost a wee bit more than chatbots.

    2. Arthur the cat Silver badge
      Boffin

      You want to work in a lab that puts semen into syringes for inseminating pigs, cows, etc?

      That isn't the null set???

      [Icon chosen as nearest to bogglement.]

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        My neighbour is a farmer (actually, they all are). Upon showing us around his shiny new barn (when we were grockle furriners), he was extremely proud of a box in the fridge containing a set of syringes of "pristine selected semen" for shoving into the female pigs. I asked him why it really mattered if the semen was from top class pigs when the critters are going to the abattoir at around five months, it's not as if they exactly get to grow up. He said it made healthier pigs which needed fewer courses of antibiotics.

        That was the day I stopped eating pork. Not that I'd imagine things are much different with cows, but hey, I've not had a guided tour of a cow farm nor do I want to. Ignorance is bliss in this case. And, besides, my mother was a veggie so I don't actually eat that much meat. Just the odd burger and various chicken concoctions.

        But, yeah, okay dude, it's a squirty thing full of pig cum, I'm really not impressed...

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          But, top quality pig cum. Think of it as the Rolex of the porcine bollocks…

          1. VicMortimer Silver badge

            If nothing else, top quality pig cum is certainly more valuable than clergy.

    3. SundogUK Silver badge

      You were doing so well until the last paragraph.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "No, man, what's criminal is the little people who "add value" by making the stuff get paid peanuts, while the shareholders get to cream off the profits and make more money for doing diddly-squat."

      So what do you propose to resolve that?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm in automation in the pharma industry. There's a lot of automation, but we still need humans to do some tasks. Simple example: "bleed the air out of this tank". Computer: open valve, wait x seconds, close valve. Result: either didn't get all the air out, or sprayed product everywhere for x-5 seconds. Human: Open valve fully and listen; as the tone of the escaping air starts getting high (indicating less space in the top of the tank), half-close the valve, then as soon as it starts spurting, close it. In my industry, the big values of automation are repeatability, reaction speed, and not physically touching the product; humans are definitely needed for those "wait, that sound isn't right" kind of issues and for decision-making.

      Fast food, however, is ripe for full automation, from order-taking and payment to food making and providing to the customer. Already a touchscreen (or app if you want to sell your soul data) will do the job of the cashier. As for burgers, all pieces are premade, so the hard part is picking up the lettuce and pickles as they vary in size. Infrared thermometer to tell the machine when the stuff is hot, apply toppings per the order, autowrap it, drop into bag. Done.

  8. Dave559 Silver badge

    Electric Monks

    Surely this process could be made even more efficient by having the AI priests proselytise their beliefs to Electric Monks, for them to believe, and then none of us humans would have to bother ourselves with any of this mumbo-jumbo at all?

    (Yet another thing that Douglas Adams foresaw long before the rest of us…)

    1. zuckzuckgo Silver badge

      Re: Electric Monks

      Well at least Telephone Sanitary Engineer isn't on the list. So that's one safe job.

    2. Evil Auditor Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Electric Monks

      That's all fine and well. But someone please think of the children! If also priests are artificialised, who's going to molesttake care of all the children?

    3. Eclectic Man Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Electric Monks

      You beat me to it:

      Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

      Chapter 2:

      "High on a rocky promontory sat an Electric Monk on a bored horse. From under its rough woven cowl the Monk gazed unblinkingly down into another valley, with which it was having a problem."

      AFAIK priests conduct ceremonies such as weddings, christenings and funerals, and the RC ones do 'the last rites'. Not sure that an electronic AI priest would be too welcome for those. And of course, 'Father Brown' solves a lot of crimes too, although I'm not sure that is in the job description.

      I shudder to think how an AI would interpret the Torah, the Bible, the Koran, the Veda, or the Vinaya Pitaka, Sutta Pitaka and the Abhidhamma Pitaka.

      Lots of sacred texts are full of warfare, murder, rape, pillage and, in some cases, divinely approved genocide. Let's keep the AI's away from those or they might get some dangerous ideas.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Electric Monks

        What we really need is the video recorder that could watch TV for you.

        Now we need something to watch TikTok, Instagram and TPFKAT - cos I'm not going to do it myself

      2. Denarius

        Re: Electric Monks

        > Lots of sacred texts are full of warfare, murder, rape, pillage

        yes, the texts are sometimes about human behavior more than transcendent activity.

        BTW, the one most involved in above seems to be the most protected from criticism. I refer to adherents of materialism of course, not the other one.

  9. Dr Dan Holdsworth
    WTF?

    There's a deus ex machina joke in here somewhere.

  10. pdh

    There's more to it

    There's a general impression that clergy's main activities are writing and delivering sermons, and leading weekly worship services. I know a few members of that profession, and they all seem to spend much more time on other things that AI probably can't (yet) do well. For example, weekly visits to elderly shut-ins and others who can't physically make it to church on Sunday; visits to members who are in hospital; general counseling; officiating at weddings and funerals; and church property management (calling the plumber when a pipe leaks, arranging for the lawn to be mowed and the parking lot snow to be plowed, etc).

    1. Dr. G. Freeman

      Re: There's more to it

      Know one Priest, who was busy with all that, and other stuff (chaplin for school, organising church groups) that he wished he could have Sundays off for a break.

  11. b0llchit Silver badge
    Big Brother

    When fiction becomes reality

    See film Warning. They feature a device called "God 2.0".

    The device crashes when upgraded and the all new and better 3.0 version is infested with ads.

    Real life is catching up...

  12. Mike 137 Silver badge

    On the other hand ...

    "we are well aware that business analysts [...] could be entirely replaced by LLMs and no one would be any the wiser"

    If true, it just suggests most human business analysts are lousy, and the validity of it is evidenced by the huge number of failed transformation projects. But that doesn't mean business analysis is inherently crap -- it can be done well by humans, given sufficient resourcing and expertise. However, as LLMs draw their sources from current practice, we could very well just end up with the automation of crap business analysis.

  13. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Top thirteen

    telephone salespersons: I would far prefer a DTMF tree to risking whatever order results from communicating with an LLM. It is possible an LLM can hallucinate product features better than a human can lie about them.

    solicitors: Been tried and found negligent.

    psychologists: Who wants to get sectioned based on the opinions of three LLMs?

    further education teaching professionals: Ask a novel question, get back a hallucination.

    market and street traders and assistants: Please do not add LLMs to vending machines. Without the physical security of an armored vending machine, LLM street traders will be robbed faster than humans.

    legal professionals: try telling a judge "ChatGPT said it was legal".

    credit controllers: Let's have LLM advocates put their money into this first.

    HR admin roles: consider the training data.

    PR professionals, management consultants and business analysts: OK

    market research interviewers: get enough silly responses already. If the interviewee thinks they are talking to a machine there will be a bigger chance of testing limits of credulity.

    local government administrative occupations: I have received good service so far, but I write to them and make sure they have all the documents they require. The potential speed with which an LLM can respond creates an opportunity to search for exploits.

    LLM is OK when the consequences of failure are trivial or land on other people.

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Top thirteen

      Just one point for you - Market and Street traders is another way of saying Wall Street (or equivalent) traders. i.e. those that work the stock markets. Considering that most of them just basically run programs that say when Y hit $1 sell, and buy at $0.99 and the trades already happen in milliseconds, it seems pretty clear that AI will take over there pretty soon.

      I dont think that's necessarily a good thing, and when the first mass market crash caused by AI cock ups occurs, then maybe the Stock Markets will be returned to regular people, instead of those that can run the fastest networks, and work on fractions of a cent...

      1. Julz

        Re: Top thirteen

        AI been there and done that. Move along, automated trading going on here, nothing to see…

  14. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Having read the report

    It seems to indicate that the more highly qualified you are the more likely to lose your job to a machine, which is somewhat counter intuitive. But to a great extent this will depend on expectations of performance. For example, in my sphere of business compliance many organisations are already employing folks who use specific tools rather than folk who use their independent expertise. But that's just because there's a convenient myth that compliance consists exclusively of records of minimum conformity with rules. The reality of course us that compliance consists of creating and following processes that achieve fulfilment of what the rules intend should happen. Jobs in the former (currently prevalent) approach will almost certainly succumb to AI, but the latter requires detailed understanding multiple disciplines and how they interact plus deep knowledge of the specific business. That's going to be a hard nut for AI in any of its current forms to crack.

  15. mostly average
    Trollface

    Forgive me, Alexa, for I have sinned...

    Alexa: I know.

  16. User McUser
    Trollface

    Telephone Salespersons

    I kinda *want* to get a sales call from a LLM - I think it'd be fun to fuck with it.

    I assume they'll program it to always be polite and to never hang up on you, which means you can try and trick it into giving you free shit or whatever it would have the power to do and then tell it to fuck off when it stops being fun.

    Personally, I'd make every other response from me a non-sequitur just to see how it responds - "I'm tempted by your offer, but how many monkeys does that package include? I'll need at least a thousand if I'm going to get this Shakespeare play written any time soon."

  17. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    ...and how we even let people pick up these kind of jobs is really criminal.

    Well, these kind of job is certainly not for me either. There are, however, people out there that are perfectly fine with such a job and glad that they have it. I'd say it's rather criminal to utter such statements before going out there and starting to actually listen. This Siemens manager is not the only "Tech Boss" who believes they know how to "save the world".

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      >...and how we even let people pick up these kind of jobs is really criminal.

      Clergy? That was the original grift.

      Some very smart dude looks out of the cave, thinks of all the lions out there and says to the rest of the tribe.

      "Hey you could all get eaten by lions / have a volcano fall on you - who knows why this happens."

      Well I have discovered there is a magic invisible fairy that controls it and only I can talk to it.

      So if I stay here safe in the cave and you all bring back an offering of mammoth for their sky fairy I'll ask it not to smite you

      1. Denarius

        you mean bureacrats ?

        you know, those founts of wisdom that want to control when you can leave your house , in case a cold kills you ?

  18. Paul Herber Silver badge

    What's the point of staying up all night arguing about whether there is or isn't a God when the AI just goes and gives you God's telephone number next morning?

  19. Rikki Tikki Bronze badge

    Taking up @ACs initial comment, it seems to me that "AI researchers" have very little idea what people actually do in their jobs - whether clergy, lawyers, psychologists, etc, etc.

    I'm sure AI is going to be very useful in a range of fields and change some jobs - but as to any it will be replacing I wouldn't like to predict*.

    *Although whoever is writing reports for the Department for Education, it can't come soon enough (if it hasn't already happened).

  20. DJV Silver badge

    Kryten would be happy...

    ...if they start preaching about Silicon Heaven...

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Kryten would be happy...

      Where else would all the dead toasters go?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Kryten would be happy...

        Did someone mention toast?

  21. Winkypop Silver badge
    Terminator

    Electric Vicars?

    Please insert £5 to hear a bible story.

    £10 to hear a sermon.

    £100 to conduct a wedding, baptism or funeral

    £150 to hear what Mr Johnson and Ms Vickers have been up to!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Electric Vicars?

      "£100 to conduct a wedding, baptism or funeral"

      Well that'll shake things up - currently baptisms are free (but £17 for the certificate), whereas a wedding including the banns, or funeral with churchyard burial are both around £560.

  22. Bebu Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Cui bono

    AI/ML, ChatGPT etc is all about raking in enormous amounts of money whereas in complete contrast organised religion and their clergy ... ah, I get back to you on that one.

  23. FuzzyTheBear
    Mushroom

    Good ..

    At least the AI can't abuse of children. That's a major beef here in Canada. Probably in the UK too. Churches are empty because of abuses. People turn away from organisations that defend these abuses. AI ? Religions ? they can all go to hell .. o the irony.

  24. mcswell

    SciFi got there first

    About AI not communicating with God, there was a short story years ago in Analog (science fiction magazine) about electing the first robotic pope.

    There is also a book "Project Pope", a science fiction novel by Clifford Simak (1981) in which robotic intelligences and humans are trying to build an infallible Pope.

  25. all ears

    What's the meaning of "meaningful?"

    "Some things simply need a human touch or they quickly descend into meaninglessness. We hope so anyway, for all our sakes."

    Perhaps quite a few things that we call "meaningful" actually have very little significance. One of the things that AI is already teaching us is that meaningfulness can be faked. Instead of embracing AI, perhaps that should inspire us to question the purpose of much of the tsunami of text, images, and other media that floods over us every day.

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