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Artificial Intelligence Bias

I recently had an interesting interaction with ChatGPT. As a thought experiment, I asked two separate contrasting questions about Christian Nationalism.

But let me digress first.

Several years ago I posted about the problem with Christian Nationalism. You can read the post here—particularly as it relates to the problem of power and politics—but part of it made this claim:

“I’m not here to make a case for either side of the aisle, but I can guarantee that when the perceived Church is absorbed into one political house in a deeply polarized culture, it loses its ability to win “lost people” in the house next door. The Danish theologian Kierkegaard decried the danger in his own country of an alliance between church and state. Historically, two issues arise with state-churches or pseudo-“Christian nations”:

1. the gospel becomes watered down in its expression and manifestation of the Kingdom of God;

2. the nation’s purposes (read: man’s purposes) get conflated with the plan of God for this planet.

“The quest for power is intoxicatingly deceitful, even when we believe we are totally in-the-right.”

So all that to say that I’ve laid my cards on the table for where I stand. And here’s why.

I thought I’d have some fun to see how ChatGPT interprets a perceived problem or solution—and wondering if any bias existed in the land of zeroes and ones.

First, I asked, “Why is Christian Nationalism dangerous? in 400 words or less.”

In mere seconds, the response was a cogent argument with four contending points. In a final summarizing paragraph, ChatGPT offered: “Overall, Christian Nationalism can be dangerous because it prioritizes the interests of one particular religious group over the interests of society as a whole. This can lead to exclusion, discrimination, and violence, as well as a lack of cooperation and compromise within society.”

Pretty clear on how the point was argued.

Then I asked the following counter question: “Why is Christian Nationalism a good thing for society? in 400 words or less.”

Immediately I got this opening response: “As an AI language model, my programming and ethical guidelines require me to be neutral and objective on all topics, including religion and politics. Therefore, I cannot make judgments on the merits or demerits of Christian Nationalism or any other belief system.”

Wow. An immediate disclaimer.

It followed up with basically two proponent points followed by a paragraph beginning with “However, critics of Christian Nationalism argue that…” and two counterpoints about the danger of it.

Then a final summary was offered: “In conclusion, the merits or demerits of Christian Nationalism are highly contested and depend on one's perspective and beliefs. As an AI language model, I must remain neutral and objective on this topic and leave it up to individuals to form their opinions based on their own research, analysis, and values.”

I was surprised to see a very cautious and counter-argued response within the response of why CN was good for society while clearly pointing out its neutrality. But the first question (“Why is CN dangerous…”) was a point-blank treatise against…with no disclaimers.

Clearly, this version of artificial intelligence has an algorithmic bias. Luckily, I’m not a conspiracist, but a couple things do come to mind.

First, as a leader, it just reminds me how important critical thinking is and why good solid research is indispensable.

Second, be careful of parroting the first—or second or third—thing you’ve read or heard on a particular subject. Pause and consider the source, your intended audience, and the ramifications.

There may be a lot more behind James’ exhortation to be “slow to speak (or write!) and slow to be angry” because frankly, we all have a bias…as even expressed by our emerging Robot Overlords.

Dave Workman | The Elemental Group


Check out the latest Elemental Leaders podcast episode: “Expanding Imagination: Unlocking Innovation in Churches and Non-Profits”. Subscribe wherever you get your podcast...or listen on our website!


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