Pastoral Virtues for Artificial Intelligence

Pastoral Virtues for Artificial Intelligence

Care and the Algorithms that Guide Our Lives

Jaco J. Hamman


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Pastoral Virtues for Artificial Intelligence (AI) acknowledges that human destiny is intimately tied to artificial intelligence. AI already outperforms a person on most tasks. Our ever-deepening relationship with an AI that is increasingly autonomous mirrors our relationship to what is perceived as Sacred or Divine. Like God, AI awakens hope and fear in people, while giving life to some and taking livelihood, especially in the form of jobs, from others. AI, built around values of convenience, productivity, speed, efficiency, and cost reduction, serve humanity poorly, especially in moments that demand care and wisdom. This book explores the pastoral virtues of hope, patience, play, wisdom, and compassion as foundational to personal flourishing, communal thriving, and building a robust AI. Biases of determinism, speed, objectivity, ignorance, and apathy within AI's algorithms are identified. These biases can be minimized through the incorporation of pastoral virtues as values guiding AI.


Jaco J. Hamman:

Jaco J. Hamman is professor of religion, psychology, and culture and the director of the

program in theology and practice at Vanderbilt Divinity School.