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Robocalls, Robocars, Robopastors?

January 28, 2019

In this high-tech age, I've often wondered out loud where the reach

and impact of robotic and automated AI systems will end. Almost daily now, I get calls that go something like this: "Hi, my name is Rob and I'm a health insurance consultant. I wanted to go over some of your options with regard to..." 


That's about as far as I get before hanging up, so I really don't know what happens with the voice recognition software if you insult the robots intelligence or genetic ancestry. Perhaps it responds with a glib retort like Siri or Google Assistant. I'm sure it's clever, but still, I'm sure it has its limits.


That brings me to my biggest fear:  Someone's going to come-out with a robopastor. You know, a big, clumsy looking bot that says, "God bless you! I'm here to help. If you'd like a prayer of comfort, press one, if you need marital help, press 2, for a sermon, press 3 and then use the drop-down menu to pick a topic...etc.


I can see it now--hundreds of pastors waiting in line at local soup kitchens while robots and AI phone systems do their jobs. It could happen...


Or, maybe not.


You see I think the personal touch is still of value. In fact, I would argue that it's of value in many fields--not just pastoral care, chaplaincy, etc. It's my belief that our culture will recognize this and it's my hope that we'll do so before it's too late. As individuals, we can contribute to drawing this "line in the sand" by valuing and supporting the people who give us this personal touch in all they do. So while we hang-up on the robots, maybe we can call and thank the people who lift us up and support us. This includes:


* Teachers

* Police Officers

* Bank Tellers

* Counselors

* Social Workers

* Pastors

And more....


To that end,

Pastor Joel

















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