Are you losing sleep over the new artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, ChatGPT? You’ve probably heard about AI’s scary potential. On the other hand, you might be excited about how you can use this new technology to be more efficient in your work. Like our own God-given free will, it has potential in both directions.

Before we dive into artificial intelligence, let’s first understand what intelligence is. Swami Kriyananda once said, “People equate intelligence with intellect, but not with awareness.” In other words, true intelligence includes awareness and feeling. Swami Kriyananda writes about this topic at length in an essay I highly recommend called “Tomorrow’s Supermen?” from Religion in the New Age. Here is an excerpt (it sounds like he knew what was coming with ChatGPT):

‘Will computers someday exceed human intelligence?’ If it comes to specific problem-solving, why not? Computers are designed to spare man the effort of lengthy and tedious ratiocination. There are probably countless other reasoning functions for which computers would not be worth the trouble to program, but where they can serve us I for one have no objection. The intellect is only, in any case, what we might call an ‘electronic mechanism.’ It has nothing to do with actual awareness. Logic is not what lifts man above the animals. It is the much greater clarity of human awareness. – Swami Kriyananda, Religion in the New Age

Just because a computer “knows” the answer to something does not mean it has any awareness behind its answer. This has been part of the problem with ChatGPT. It’s actually not intelligent or even artificially intelligent (that’s more of a marketing misnomer). It doesn’t understand but uses data and computer programs to churn out answers. However, the software itself is not sentient. To ChatGPT’s credit, it does not claim to be self-aware. When I asked if it possessed self-awareness, it responded:

“As an AI language model, I am programmed to simulate conversation and provide responses based on patterns in language data. While I can generate responses that may seem like I am self-aware, I do not possess true consciousness or self-awareness. I am a machine learning model designed to mimic human-like responses and provide useful information to the best of my abilities based on the input I receive.” -ChatGPT

In contrast, God’s Intelligence is pure consciousness which is ineffably beyond the mechanics of reasoning. There is a story from the life of Paramhansa Yogananda that describes divine Intelligence:

A professor in a university once asked me, “Can you give me a reasonable thought by which I can believe that there is a possibility of the existence of God?” I replied, “Yes. Here is a table in front of you; there is a tree outside; in this room there is air to breathe and there is water.
Science tells us that everything came from vibration and that all things in this universe are nothing but different rates of one vibration. Therefore it is one vibration which has created the solids, liquids, gases, and all substances. Isn’t it so?”
He said, “Yes.” Then I asked, “How is it that one vibration becomes solid, another becomes liquid, and another becomes gases, and how is it that these vibrations are so coordinated that human life becomes possible? Doesn’t it show that there is an Intelligence behind all this?” He said, “Yes, I have found the answer.”

– Paramhansa Yogananda, How to Spiritualize Your Life

ChatGPT is only as good as its database and programmers. Similarly, we need to learn to attune to our true source of knowledge in God. Without attunement to divine consciousness life is rife with sorrow. As Swami Sri Yukteswar said to Yogananda:

“Human life is beset with sorrow until we know how to tune in with the Divine Will, whose ‘right course’ is often baffling to the egoistic intelligence. God bears the burden of the cosmos; He alone can give unerring counsel.” – Paramhansa Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi

So, with companies and countries racing to use AI for profit and selfish gain, don’t forget to develop your own God-given intelligence in attunement with Him for the good of your soul and others. Let us not forget as the Bible says, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding” (Proverbs, 4:7).

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