One Job AI Can’t Replace

By Meryl Herr

June 19, 2023

Article, De Pree Journal, Marketplace Leaders

At the beginning of June, news outlets reported that artificial intelligence experts were sounding the alarm. “Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war,” they wrote. That’s grim.

Prior to 2018, I hadn’t heard much about AI. During one of the keynotes at the Faith and Work Summit in Chicago, someone spoke about AI as a potential threat. I recall feeling sick to my stomach as I walked out of the ballroom in stunned silence. Fast forward five years, and now we’re being told that AI is coming for our jobs. To be sure, some AI could make our daily work easier or make us more efficient, but AI is not without its risks.

Here’s the good news, there’s one job that AI can never take from us–and that’s our job to bear God’s image in the world. Unlike human beings, machines are not animated and energized by the breath of God. Machines cannot attend to the voice of God or the movement of the Spirit.

Machines also can’t engage in redemptive imagination. AI can’t adapt in the way that’s needed to live wisely and faithfully in this world. But as those who follow the way of Jesus and carry the hope of the new creation, we can. We can creatively apply the values of the kingdom to a broken and hurting world. And, when the redemptive work goes awry or gets a little messy, we can turn to the grace and forgiveness we have in Christ and find resilience and courage to continue.

I’m grateful for the work you’re doing to be a light for Jesus in your life, work, and leadership.

Meryl Herr

Director of Research and Resources

Dr. Meryl Herr is the Director of Research and Resources at the Max De Pree Center for Leadership where she designs and conducts research studies that add to the understanding of what helps marketplace leaders flourish. She also oversees the team’s efforts to convert research findings into r...

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