Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

9 Dec 2022

The Use of AI Technology for Church Images

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A few weeks ago I drew attention to the AI movement and its complications with education. Namely, to what degree can students use AI and still consider the product their own work. Just recently, ChatGPT launched and now has over one million users. If you try to use it, you may see a screen informing you that too many people are presently using the service. To say the least, it has taken the internet by storm.

Joe Carter in a creative article recently suggested that the AI Chatbot may have some positive use cases in the church. Part of the article’s creativity (and I will ruin the surprise for you) is that a good portion of the article was written by AI. Indeed, most of the conversation around AI has focused on the eerily human text generator. But there is another program that was launched at the same time, and it is one that can have some helpful use cases for Christian ministries.

Before getting to that, let me highlight one of the more expensive costs of running a website, posting online, or using material in church—the cost of images. Sometimes the image you desire costs upwards of hundreds of dollars. Conscientiously, believers should care about copyright laws. Accordingly, I have often had to forego using the perfect image, because it would cost too much for the use I had in mind.

There have been some alternative options for churches. For instance, websites like Pixabay or Unsplash offer royalty free images to be used. Nevertheless, these are rather limited (consisting of whatever images authors choose to release for free use). Now with the release of DALLE 2, you can create your own images based on verbal inputs. Essentially, you are using AI technology to paint a picture for you.

For instance, imagine if I wanted to illustrate a house built on the sand. All I need to do is input that into the program, and the following image is supplied (there are actually four supplied, and I can refine them if I desire).

Or imagine that I wanted a background image with “three crosses with a rainbow.” That input includes the following image:

Generic images are often quite useful, so observe the following generated from “coffee shop discussion table with Bible.”

You may think that my inputs lack creativity. I agree, so feel free to make your own and let me know the limits of this technology: