Thousands flock to ‘AI Jesus’ for gaming, relationship advice

Creators of digital Jesus claim chatbot can help users ‘discover the power of faith, hope, and love’

Vishwam Sankaran
Thursday 15 June 2023 13:05 BST
Related video: Here’s What Experts Say About Super-Intelligent AI And Its Risks

A chatbot designed to resemble an ‘AI Jesus’ has attracted hundreds of Twitch users seeking gaming and relationship advice.

The device, created by a Berlin tech collective, shows a bearded white man with a bright white halo who gestures as he answers questions having been “trained after Jesus and the teachings of the Bible.”

Its “ask_jesus” livestream attracted over 35,000 followers and allowed viewers to ask questions.

It was created by The Singularity Group, a non-profit which said the Twitch stream cost it €322 (£276) per day for the chatbot ‘voice’ and €38 (£33) a day for the GPT4 model behind the boot.

Asked to share views on topics such as abortion and gay rights, AI Jesus was found to provide vague, non-partisan replies, such as advising the user to look at the issues from legal and ethical perspectives.

“Whether you’re seeking spiritual guidance, looking for a friend, or simply want someone to talk to, you can join on the journey through life and discover the power of faith, hope, and love,” said the bio for the “ask_jesus” Twitch page.

Twitch has, however, taken down the channel and it remains to be seen on what grounds the decision was made by the streaming platform.

The disclaimer on the page said the channel “is currently unavailable due to a violation of Twitch’s Community Guidelines or Terms of Service”.

This is not the first time an AI chatbot was developed for users to interact with over topics of religion.

Many AI chatbots based on the Hindu scripture Bhagavad Gita have emerged in India, with millions of using it.

One such chatbot, GitaGPT, replies to user queries based on the 700-verse Hindu scripture, mimicking Hindu god Krishna’s tone. It claims to help users “unlock life’s mysteries with Krishna”.

“You’re not actually talking to Krishna. You’re talking to a bot that’s pretending to be him,” said the bot’s creator Sukuru Sai Vineet, a software engineer from Bengaluru.

However, journalist Nadia Nooreyezdan, who interacted with GitaGPT, found it lacked filters for casteism, misogyny and law, with experts cautioning that AI systems playing ‘god’ can have dangerous and unintended consequences.

When The Independent asked GitaGPT about Narendra Modi – whose political party BJP has close links to right-wing Hindu nationalist group RSS – it had only words of praise for the Indian prime minister, calling him a “great leader” who is “honest” and “hardworking” with a “vision for the country”.

On his political rival Rahul Gandhi, the chatbot said he was a “good person” who is “sincere and hardworking”, but also stated that he could “however, benefit from studying the Bhagavad Gita and learning about dharma [duty]”.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in