AI on Our Side

Sad young man looking through the window

Rev. Robert Fleischmann, National Director, Christian Life Resources

When I speak about artificial intelligence (AI), I suspect I sound alarmist. Some of what I read about AI development is concerning. Yet, I have long felt that technological advancements are like most things in the world – they can be wonderful blessings, but given the opportunity, mankind will turn it into a curse.

So, for now, let’s ignore the negative and look at some good news from the AI world.

Every day about 120 Americans take their lives. For years, researchers have looked for predictive characteristics to identify and intervene with the suicidal. AI has helped us make a big step forward in that direction.

On April 11, 2017, Clinical Psychological Science published a paper entitled, “Predicting Risk of Suicide Attempts Over Time Through Machine Learning.”  The authors tracked over 5,000 adult patients who had attempted suicide or who engaged in self-harming practices. The hospital data of these patients were fed into machine-learning algorithms developed to predict the likelihood that a patient might attempt suicide. The machine showed 80-90% accuracy in predicting an attempt within two years. It was 92% accurate in predicting an attempt within seven days.

Killing and self-killing violate God’s dominion over life and death. Apart from his expressed command, it is wrong to take life (Genesis 9:6; Exodus 20:13; Matthew 15:19). Undeniably, we need to remain vigilant about some trends in AI research. We can, however, cherish the blessing there is when AI can help us serve God by protecting lives.


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