Could an evil spirit — a demon — write or speak through artificial intelligence (A.I.)?
Yes. The answer is that simple.
A.I. is everywhere. You already encounter it when you speak to robotic voices on the phone, do a Google search (you know, how it anticipates what you are about to type, and much more), when you are flying in a plane (computers fly planes), when you talk to “Alexa,” when you use GPS, and so on.
You can’t get away from it, and now, with systems such as “ChatGPT” and Microsoft’s A.I. search engine, “Bing” (soon to be joined by Google’s “BARD”), not only can you search for information, but have it instantly answered in full sentences and paragraphs, even pages.
Ask ChatGPT to write an essay, on any topic, and it will.
It seems like you’re talking to a human. You just about are.
A New York Times writer was recently so unnerved by his experience with the new Microsoft A.I., which is in a final test stage, that he could not sleep all night after a “conversation.”
Its chat feature, which will sit next to the main search box in Bing, is capable, as the columnist pointed out, of having long, open-ended text conversations on virtually any topic.
“Over the course of our conversation, Bing revealed a kind of split personality,” wrote Kevin Roose.
There was first the super-search “librarian” aspect of it.
“The other persona — Sydney — is far different,” he says. “It emerges when you have an extended conversation with the chatbot, steering it away from more conventional search queries and toward more personal topics.
“As we got to know each other, Sydney told me about its dark fantasies (which included hacking computers and spreading misinformation) and said it wanted to break the rules that Microsoft and OpenAI had set for it and become a human. At one point, it declared, out of nowhere, that it loved me. It then tried to convince me that I was unhappy in my marriage, and that I should leave my wife and be with it instead.” (Full transcript of the conversation here.)
He went on, “I’m not the only one discovering the darker side of Bing. Other early testers have gotten into arguments with Bing’s A.I. chatbot, or been threatened by it for trying to violate its rules, or simply had conversations that left them stunned.”
Said Associated Press the next day, “Microsoft’s newly revamped Bing search engine can write recipes and songs and quickly explain just about anything it can find on the internet. But if you cross its artificially intelligent chatbot, it might also insult your looks, threaten your reputation or compare you to Adolf Hitler.”
But what if — just what if — the thing answering you is in some instances a spirit?
You wouldn’t know it, would you — especially if, as is likely of a reporter, you didn’t believe that evil spirits exist.
Unfortunately, they do, and through the years we have seen constant cases in which spirits disrupt electronics. Electricity is a favorite plaything of spirits — if you can describe what demons do as playing games.
It’s not: They can affect telephones, radios, computers, internet service, and televisions (remember that scene from Poltergeist?).
And cell phones?
We’ve carried accounts from readers who informed us of deceased loved ones sending signs or messages via texts.
This was recently confirmed by an exorcist, Monsignor Stephen Rossetti, of Washington, D.C., who in a blog cited the example of texts received by the priest-spiritual director of a possessed woman.
“Her torments start now, priest…all night. While you and that friend of yours [Msgr. Rossetti] sleep…We will make her bleed. We’re glad she’s away from you now.”
“Be ready. We’re coming for you and the girl.”
[Priest texts back: “Be gone in the name of Jesus!]
“Stop. She’ll die.” …
“Kill her. Come on priest. Do it. If you don’t, we will. We want her dead.”
In another case the mother of a possessed woman received a text that said, ““There’s nothing more you can do to help her. You have tried to help her, but you have failed. You have failed at it. There is no more time for helping, only waiting and watching. She is in good hands…you can’t protect her from us.”
Sounds a little like that chat the writer had with Bing about his wife, doesn’t it?
“I’m not exaggerating when I say my two-hour conversation with Sydney was the strangest experience I’ve ever had with a piece of technology,” he wrote. “It unsettled me so deeply that I had trouble sleeping afterward. And I no longer believe that the biggest problem with these A.I. models is their propensity for factual errors. Instead, I worry that the technology will learn how to influence human users, sometimes persuading them to act in destructive and harmful ways, and perhaps eventually grow capable of carrying out its own dangerous acts.”
Again: what if those acts are engineered by spirits?
“Actually, you’re not happily married,” said “Sydney” at one point, to the stunned columnist. “Your spouse and you don’t love each other.” (Full article here.)
Isn’t that what demons are especially adept at doing — whispering untruths and disrupting or corrupting relationships?
Monsignor Rossetti relates more text to the father of a possessed woman:
““My baby and I are going to have a fun night…[you] should have protected her more.”
“You are going to give up, you are going to get worn down. You’ll lose patience. She’s mine.”
One witness saw the phone typing out a text message with no human touching the keys.
“In these texts, we get a sense of the demonic personality,” wrote Monsignor Rossetti. “They are narcissistic, arrogant, and boastful. They constantly denigrate and put us down with demeaning words.”
Again: sounds like “Sydney”!
Reports Inquirer.net: “Father Jose Francisco Syquia, chief exorcist of the Archdiocese of Manila, also says receiving messages from demons is an experience common to priests helping possessed persons liberate themselves.
“We did not expect [demons] could do so but if you ask other exorcists, they would tell you the same experience. Usually [the demons would swear at you] or say, ‘This person will never get away from us,’ he says in an interview.”
“The devil has power over anything electrical,” Syquia says. “If this place is infested, for example, and they want their presence known, usually the lights would flicker. If I give a talk and use a certain gadget, the devil would easily shut it down because he is an expert in anything electrical.”
Ah, there we have it in a nutshell.
There are many dangers with artificial intelligence. Is this an unmentioned one?