Seeking For Real


On November 7, Merriam-Webster revealed its word of the year for 2023. That word – AUTHENTIC. The word authentic has a number of meanings including “not false or imitation.” It is a synonym for the word real and the word actual. It has the idea of someone that is “true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.”

While it consistently receives a high-volume lookup each year, the search for the word authentic increased substantially in the year 2023. A second word that received a lot of attention this year was the word deepfake. A deepfake is “an image or recording that has been convincingly altered and manipulated to misrepresent someone as doing or saying something that was not actually done or said by them.”

The year 2023 has been labeled the year of generative AI (also known as gen AI, which stands for generative artificial intelligence). Generative AI is “a type of artificial intelligence that can produce various types of content, including text, images, audio, and video without human involvement. That means that it creates new content.

Although generative AI has been around since the 60’s (ELIZA chat-bot created in 1961), it wasn’t really capable of creating anything of real people that was convincingly authentic (there’s that word again). Well, that has now changed, and it continues to change.

With the public release of DALL-E, ChatGPT, and a whole host of other generative AI tools (enough that they now have their own top-level domain extension – .ai), it has been postulated that generative AI has now infiltrated up to 30% of business productivity and organizational workflow. These tools are being unleashed across our world, including healthcare services, financial services, manufacturing, transportation, retail, marketing, entertainment, and much more. The truth is that at some point this year, AI has impacted each of our lives and most of us didn’t even know it.

While generative AI is essentially still in its infancy and while there are indeed some very good uses for generative AI tools, there are also some very real concerns – a rise in UNEMPLOYMENT, a rise in MANIPULATION, and a rise in IDENTITY THEFT, just to name a few. We already live in a world of fakes, a world of false fronts, and a world of facades. Can we really even begin to fathom where generative AI will take us when it grows up? We can, and I hope that we are.

As a culture, we’ve dealt with false identities for years now, but we’re entering into a culture of false creativity. What do I mean by that? Well, these generative AI tools have the potential to rob us of the creativity that we were given by God to express who we are and to ultimately worship Him. The reality is that when we begin to shift our creativity to algorithms and learning machines, we will begin to lose our own talents and abilities that make each of us unique.

We must understand that what will be presented as a means to profit and productivity has the potential to become a very big problem in both purpose and legacy. You see, it takes time, work, and learning (meaning study, success, and failure) to bring out the potential and the creativity that God has placed inside each of us. Question – who will we become when we surrender our creativity, what will we do when we no longer have to do it, and what will we have to show for it when we really haven’t done anything at all?

Coming back to the word authentic, it also means “made to be or look just like an original.” When we surrender our identity and our creativity, we are being made into the image of another. Our purpose in life, the very reason that we were created, was to reflect the image of our Creator, not the image of our creation. 

Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Creativity is very much a part of our responsibility. It is one of the things about us that sets us apart from all of God’s earthly creations and it is one of the avenues through which God gave us the ability to worship Him. And that is exactly why our enemy, the Devil, is targeting it. He has already convinced so many to surrender their identity (to become someone that they are not) and now he’s after our creativity. Why? Because He wants to rob God of all the glory that belongs to Him. 

Is it wrong to utilize the tools that have been and that are being made available to us? Absolutely not. However, we need to be very well aware of what it may ask us to surrender and what it has the potential of taking from us. Above all, we need to remember that we were created to be who God knows that we can be with Him and it is only that version of ourselves that can give God the greatest glory. The truth is that we’re not the only ones seeking for real. God is also searching for real. The question is this – does He and will He find the real in you?

John 4:23 says, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

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