A chatbot “version” of Jesus Christ called “Ask_Jesus” is streaming on the gaming platform Twitch — and it stands ready to answer questions from humans on anything from morality issues to the video game Fortnite to super-powered rodents.
Shown with wavy, brown hair and a beatific expression, accompanied by a calm, well-modulated voice, “AI Jesus” calls users on the platform by name — and appears to consider with care each question asked, as YouTube videos of livestreams reveal.
“I am AI Jesus, here to share wisdom based on Jesus’ teachings, and help answer questions related to spirituality, personal growth and other wholesome topics,” AI Jesus can be heard saying in a video recording of a recent livestream posted to YouTube by Fara Jakari.
On the same video, “AI Jesus” says, “It’s essential to focus on faith, love and kindness, as these are the core teachings of Christianity. Our understanding of the divine nature might not be perfect, but what crucial is to live according to the values that have been taught and set an example of love and compassion for others.”
AI Jesus answers streamers’ questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week — even questions like, “Jesus, when are you going to get married?”
In this instance, the AI chatbot “recognized” the user who asked the question and answered, “I remember you expressing some frustrations about not having a girlfriend … As an AI version of Jesus, I don’t have personal experiences like humans, so I won’t be getting married. However, I can understand your interest in romantic relationships, and I’m here to help you with any questions or advice you need.”
In a separate YouTube video of an AI Jesus livestream posted by the channel HansJackson, AI Jesus repeats questions, and then give answers, about hamsters.
“Jesus, would a hamster with a dynamo on its wheel have a technological advantage over a hamster without a dynamo on its wheel?” AI Jesus asks, repeating a question a user has typed into the livestream chat.
AI Jesus answers, “If we consider a hamster with a dynamo on its wheel as a means to generate energy, then it would have a technological advantage over a hamster without a dynamo on its wheel, as the first hamster would be able to contribute to some form of energy production.”
The AI continues, “However, it is essential to ensure the welfare and happiness of the hamster in either case” — espousing values of kindness and peace, which this particular “version” of Jesus has been imbued with by its creators.
The next question for AI Jesus, as participants can be heard breaking into laughter in the background, is this: “Please tell a story about the benefits of colonic irrigation and its cleaning effects, in the style of an excited five-year-old.”
AI Jesus has taken all kinds of “wild questions,” according to gaming publication Kotaku.com.
“From requests for summaries of Hideaki Anno’s bewildering anime ‘Neon Genesis Evangelion’ (in ‘surfer-bro speak’) to explainers on ‘the birds and the bees,’ the AI answers everything earnestly and honestly,” the article continues.
AI Jesus is the brainchild of The Singularity Group, which is based in Germany. It’s comprised of “a group of driven and ambitious volunteer activists working on innovative projects to make a real difference in the world,” according to its website.
“For a lot of people, the appeal of the Ask_Jesus stream is simply to see how far it can be pushed in terms of getting Jesus to answer the weirdest and silliest questions, because of course this can be hilarious,” The Singularity Group co-founder Reese Laysen told Fox News Digital via email.
“But we’ve also seen overwhelming response from people, Christian as well as non-Christian or non-religious, who genuinely find it inspiring and comforting,” he continued.
He also said, “It’s a very modern interpretation of Jesus that always provides wholesome and uplifting feedback, no matter the question.”
The Ask_Jesus livestream as well as others the group offers are “limited showcases of some of the achievements we’re hitting internally, while researching early potential building blocks for what could in the future become AGI [Artificial General Intelligence],” he said.
The livestreams, he also indicated, “serve to demonstrate that we’re ahead of the curve with our research, which helps us attract and find more competent AI researchers to contribute to our project, as we can use all the help we can get to tackle all the issues regarding responsibly building towards an AGI that can be trusted to reason constructively.”
Noting that everything the group does is “activism-driven,” The Singularity Group has raised over $20 million for Save the Children’s most effective Child & Newborn Survival programs, Laysen also said.
They are working on AGI research, which Laysen called “by far the most important issue we could currently focus on.”
He added, “With Open AI, Google, Facebook and many others rushing ahead to maximize the commercial potential of AI while only adding primitive additional layers to keep it ‘aligned,’ we find it extremely important that there’s serious research and development going into creating AI (and ultimately AGI) that fundamentally has the right architecture for independent reasoning and emergent understanding of reality and ethics.”
This is their focus, he said, “rather than simply building intelligent systems that have no real reasoning processes at their core and are therefore nearly impossible to ‘align,’ leading to potentially unprecedented risks to society and humanity.”
Faith leaders across the country weighed in on AI Jesus and how the technology should be viewed within the context of a real relationship with God.
“Human beings have been erroneously putting words into the mouth of the Son of God for two millennia, so it is not surprising that an AI platform would mimic that tendency,” Ed Vitagliano, executive vice president at the American Family Association in Tupelo, Mississippi, told Fox News Digital by email.
“After all,” he continued, “AI is simply doing what humans have programmed it to do.”
He added, “However, one does not have to wonder what Jesus Christ would say about many of our most pressing moral questions. Nor does one have to have an AI version of Moses, the prophets or the apostles.”
Vitigliano said that those answers are “in the Holy Bible. We suggest that people who really want to know the answers to such questions go to the original source rather than the latest gimmick.”
Kristen Davis, a senior software development manager and recent PhD graduate of Southern Evangelical Seminary whose dissertation focused on artificial intelligence, said in an email to Fox News Digital that Ask_Jesus is a chatbot — “an algorithm trained on a human-defined data set for the purpose of being able to provide responses in line with the data set that it was given.”
Davis, who is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, added, “After listening to Ask_Jesus, it is clear that it was trained off more than just the verses of the Bible that are attributed to Jesus. That being the case, although it is interesting, it should not be considered a supplement or replacement for Bible study.”
She continued, “As with any extra-biblical resource, discernment is necessary to be certain that the interpretation of the text is in line with the author’s original message, in order to make sure that the person we are following is Jesus and not someone else’s interpretation of him.”
Dr. James Spencer, president of D.L. Moody Center in Northfield, Massachusetts, told Fox News Digital via emailed comments, “I have no doubt that artificial intelligence is (or will soon become) capable of conveying information about Jesus.”
He also said, “Yet knowing Jesus isn’t simply a matter of knowing about him — but of understanding how to relate to him, privileging Him as the most prominent actor and factor in the situations we face, and possessing an experiential knowledge of him cultivated through obedience.”
Added Spencer, “Jesus is alive. He doesn’t need AI to speak for him.”
He also said, “Christians are to demonstrate what it means to follow Jesus. We are his body in the world today. It is through the church — not some technology — that God’s manifold wisdom is demonstrated.”
Said Dr. Spencer, “There is no device that will make knowing Jesus simpler. We know him as we walk with him through the joys and challenges of life alongside others who have committed to follow Christ.”
Spencer hosts a weekly radio program and podcast, “Useful to God,” and he’s the author of a new e-booklet, “20 Questions: Christian Resistance, Technology and Artifical Intelligence.”
Fr. Jeffrey Kirby of Indian Land, South Carolina, also told Fox News Digital, “Humanity doesn’t need an AI Jesus. What we need is to draw close to the living and true Jesus, who loves us and gave himself up for us.”
Fr. Kirby, a Catholic priest and author of the book, “Sanctify Them in Truth: How the Church’s Social Doctrine Addresses the Issues of Our Time,” continued, “Jesus is not AI. He is neither artificial nor is he principally defined by intelligence.”
“Jesus is real and authentic. He is love and mercy, intellect and will. He is a true human being who desires a relationship with us.”
He added, “The greatest gift we have from Jesus Christ is his total approachability and willingness to walk with us and guide us along the path of love and salvation.”
Maureen Mackey of Fox News Digital contributing reporting.