Three hundred people attended a Protestant church in Nuremberg, Germany, on Friday, June 9, and watched a ecclesiastical feature created almost entirely by artificial intelligence.
The feature was created by ChatGPT and Jonas Simmerlein, a theologian and philosopher from University of Vienna. Chatbot ChatGPT, personified by an avatar on a huge screen above the altar, led the more than 300 people in 40 minutes of prayer, music, sermons and blessings.
According to the Associated Press, the AI chatbot asked worshipers in the packed St. Paul's Church in the Bavarian city of Fuerth to rise from the pews and praise the Lord.
ChatGPT, personified by an avatar of a bearded black man on a giant screen above the altar, began preaching to more than 300 people who had shown up Friday morning for an experimental Lutheran church service almost entirely powered by AI.
"Dear friends, it is an honor for me to stand here and preach to you as the first artificial intelligence, at this year's Protestant conference in Germany," said the avatar with an expressionless face and monotone voice.
The 40-minute service (including the sermon, prayers and music) was created by ChatGPT and Jonas Simmerlein, a theologian and philosopher from the University of Vienna. According to Simmerlein about 98% of it operation it is a product of artificial intelligence.
At times, the AI-generated avatar drew unintentional laughs, such as when he used platitudes and told churchgoers with a deadpan expression that "to keep our faith, we must pray and go to church regularly."
Some people enthusiastically filmed the event on their mobile phones, while others looked more critical and refused to sing aloud during the Lord's Prayer.
According to the article, the service was included as part of a Protestant convention held every two years. The theme of this year's event? “Now is the time.”
However, keep in mind that Protestants are much more conservative than Catholics, but apparently, technologically they are quite progressive.