Can artificial intelligence (AI) understand the complexities of mental health? Does it understand the nuance of integrating faith into the conversation? Is it coming for my job? (Maybe that last one was a bit dramatic.)
If you have not heard, AI is starting to become a thing. For those that do not know, my undergraduate degree is actually in computer engineering which makes a conversation of mental health and AI a perfect intersection for me to explore.
So the idea of AI is intriguing because a great test of it is not “can it talk to me” but more along the lines of mental health and what it does and does not know. To test it out, I looked at the main chatbots available at this time and know of three big ones: OpenAI, Jasper, and Bing’s ChatGPT.
To do an initial test, I wondered if one of the bots could write an original blog article about mental health and Christianity. The prompt we used for OpenAI was “Write a blog article that’s at least 400 words about what Christian pastors should know about mental health” and this is what I got:
Mental health is an increasingly important topic in today’s society. As a Christian pastor, it is crucial to understand mental health and how it affects the people in your congregation. Mental health issues can be just as debilitating as physical illnesses, and it is essential to have the knowledge and tools to help those who are struggling. Here are some key things that Christian pastors should know about mental health:
1. Mental illness is real and can affect anyone.
There is still a stigma surrounding mental illness in many Christian communities, but it is important to recognize that mental illness is just as real and debilitating as physical illnesses. Mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia can affect anyone, regardless of their faith or background. It is important to approach mental illness with empathy and understanding, rather than judgment.
2. It is not a sin to struggle with mental health issues.
Some people may believe that struggling with mental health issues is a result of sin or a lack of faith. However, this is simply not true. Mental health issues are often caused by a combination of biological, environmental, and psychological factors, and they are not a reflection of a person’s moral character or faith. It is important to reassure those struggling with mental health issues that they are not alone, and that seeking help is a courageous step towards healing.
3. Pastors can play a vital role in supporting those struggling with mental health issues.
Christian pastors have a unique opportunity to provide emotional and spiritual support to those struggling with mental health issues. By creating a safe and welcoming environment where people feel comfortable sharing their struggles, pastors can help break down the stigma surrounding mental illness and encourage people to seek help. Additionally, pastors can provide resources and referrals to mental health professionals and support groups.
4. Pastors should educate themselves about mental health issues.
In order to effectively support those struggling with mental health issues, pastors should educate themselves about the different types of mental illnesses and the various treatment options available. By understanding the symptoms and causes of mental illness, pastors can better recognize when someone in their congregation may be struggling and offer appropriate support.
5. Prayer and faith can be a valuable part of the healing process.
While mental illness often requires professional treatment and medication, prayer and faith can also play a valuable role in the healing process. By offering pastoral counseling and encouragement, pastors can help those struggling with mental health issues find hope and peace in their faith.
In conclusion, mental health is an important issue that Christian pastors should take seriously. By recognizing the reality of mental illness, avoiding judgment, providing support, educating themselves, and incorporating prayer and faith into the healing process, pastors can help their congregations find healing and hope in the midst of mental health struggles.
We tried this OpenAI experiment with the others and got similar results. If you read the content, it is generalized, but very effective, so I find it interesting. I don’t know about you, but in my eyes it definitely passes an initial attempt with validity and this would be a great article to share online. I’m not necessarily worried it will come for my counseling job right now, but this is way further than what people have tried before.
But knowing what we call AI is not actual artificial intelligence, I had specifically stated I wanted to see if it could write an original work and not just find ten different articles online that the AI would then “copy/paste” an article together. So I ran the above article through a couple of online plagiarism tools and, low and behold, not a single tool identified this work as plagiarism. Is the content above fully unique? Not at all. But it is an original work.
I could get much more nerdy about this with identifying how this uses reference databases that apparently have signals for both mental health and faith and the ability to integratively process data in that regard. This is interesting because I gave it a VERY niche topic of not only mental health, but also incorporating faith, that I think is misunderstood online quite often, but it was able to see through the noise.
Instead of going full geeky about this here, instead I will simply acknowledge this passed my expectations and am excited to see what comes next. What is your thoughts on this and the future of AI?