Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

AI: Skynet, Education and Using Our Brain

Written by: on September 9, 2023

“Dealing with systems that output plausible but wrong information feels like a very new challenge.”

 – Micheal Webb


This certainly feels like a new frontier or more like the introduction of a revolution, probably both. A new frontier is the opportunity to explore, while discovering new ways of being in the world. A revolution is an upending of what was before into something new, often in response to what was before. These are the two ideas that frame my understanding and perceptions of AI, particularly in the forms and versions of ChatGPT. It is quite phenomenal to see how quickly integration has begun for this new, adaptive technology. It is also quite remarkable to see the polarized responses to adoption or prohibiting the use of AI. While there are certainly dangers and cautions to consider, but also possibilities that will only be discovered for those who choose to explore. I am persuaded that it is best to move forward into the new frontiers, aware of the dangers, while moving toward the desired possibilities. 

Dangers and Cautions 

I have known about the dangers of AI, in no small part, thanks to Hollywood. As the director of The Terminator, James Cameron, recently commented, “I warned you guys in 1984, and you didn’t listen.”[1] While we can dismiss the science-fiction warnings, they don’t seem so implausible now. Being at the beginning of a new revolution means we should do our due diligence to consider all possible outcomes. Aside from the apparent inevitability of Skynet, what are some of the present dangers and cautions for AI?

One avenue to explore this question is from an educational perspective. My initial experience of AI is one of considering all the ways it can be misused in education. Although, I had not considered the point made by Micheal Webb, when he said, “Dealing with systems that output plausible but wrong information feels like a very new challenge”[2]. This seemed to be an interesting perspective as it invites a more nuanced consideration of the dangers and cautions of AI. Much like the use of the internet itself or even spell check on a word processor, discernment must be employed by the one that is using this new AI tool for education purposes. While AI can be helpful, the danger is accepting the information generated without checking its reliability, which seems to generally be a wise thing to do no matter the source of information. Simply, the danger is that we may fail to use our brains[3]. 

Exciting Possibilities 

One of the truly exciting possibilities of this new frontier are the ways that AI can actually aid education. In all the discussion of the dangers of AI, I had not considered the work being done to adopt AI to the classroom. That is exactly what Sal Khan is doing as he joyfully announced that with AI, “…we are going to give every student “an amazing artificial intelligent personal tutor” and every teacher “an amazing artificial intelligent teaching assistant”[3]. The implications on education are far reaching in the way that students are able to learn. To test the claims of Sal Khan, I asked my wife, who is a middle school educator. She commented that her goal is to be able to give students one-to-one attention and feedback, but it is just not possible. Although this is a sample of one, I feel confident that most educators would agree with this assessment. As Sal Khan argues, it is the kind of revelation that can give a “two standard deviation” taking below-average students to above-average[4]. 


Considering the ways that AI has been misused in educational settings, I have been hesitant to use ChatGPT for anything other than entertainment purposes[5]. Considering all the positive possibilities for education has made me consider the ways that AI could accelerate brainstorming sessions, initial research possibilities and market research. Rather than spending time on Google, I could ask ChatGPT and allow the responses to inform the initial stages of the creation process.

I do not consider myself an early-adopter when it comes to technology. In fact, I can understand the reasoning of those, like James Cameron, who have vocalized their warnings against AI and its ubiquitous and uncritical integration into many aspects of life. Yet, the possibilities are just as important to consider. It is a new revolution that will guide us on the journey of exploration in the new frontier. The possibilities are wide-open and waiting to be discovered. 

  1. Jen Juneau, “James Cameron on Dangers of AI 40 Years After ‘Terminator:’ ‘I Warned You Guys…and You Didn’t Listen.” People. July 19, 2023. https://people.com/james-cameron-dangers-artificial-intelligence-40-years-after-terminator-warned-you-7563101
  2. Micheal Webb. Chat GPT-3 and Its Impact on Education. https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1eMgz1LWSXLOeFrPcAMDf0z5KEwFVhAs7
  3. I asked ChatGPT if it is “Skynet.” It said, “No.” I am satisfied with that response. After all, AI doesn’t lie, right?
  4. Sal Kahn, “How AI Could Save (Not Destroy) Education,” TED, Vancouver, BC, April 2023. https://youtu.be/hJP5GqnTrNo?si=UfBAYH343hxgCYaK, 0:46. 
  5. Ibid., 1:40. 
  6. ChatGPT did give me a diet plan that saved me from having to research the type of plan I wanted. I am not following it but I did save it for later, when the motivation strikes. 

About the Author


Chad McSwain

Chad is a systematic creative serving in pastoral ministry for nearly 20 years, Chad is a professional question-asker and white-board enthusiast, who enjoys helping people discover their own passions and purpose. A life-long learner, he has a B.A, Philosophy - Univ. Central Oklahoma, M.A Theology - Fuller Seminary, M.Div. Perkins School of Theology at SMU and is pursuing a Doctor of Leadership - George Fox University. He is an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church, currently serving as Lead Pastor of Whitesboro UMC. Chad and his wife, Brandi live in Prosper, Texas along with their three children, two pugs and a chameleon.

4 responses to “AI: Skynet, Education and Using Our Brain”

  1. Tonette Kellett says:


    I am very interested in Sal Khan’s article on AI in education. Planning to follow that link later tonight! I’ve struggled with AI in my upper elementary classroom so far with kids just wanting to use it to get their homework done, without engaging their own brains. I’m not resistant to it, but need to learn more about it and its effective use in the classroom. All that to say – thank you for your post, and that link!

  2. mm Daron George says:

    The integration of AI technologies, particularly ChatGPT, has for sure been remarkably quick. You also note that public response to the adoption of AI is polarized, with strong feelings both for and against it. I was 100% against it at first because of Terminator (especially T2 my favorite in the series). I’m no longer 100% against it but I am extremely cautious. Thanks Chad

  3. Hi Chad,
    I agree with your comment; we can’t risk the danger: “The danger is accepting the information generated without checking its reliability.” Our brains would not be put to their best use. These systems are helpful, yet sometimes can become instructions.

  4. Kristy Newport says:

    I enjoyed your post.
    I like how you asked your wife how she might benefit from her students using AI. If there is an opportunity in the future (this school year), please let us know your wife’s thoughts on AI as she has students employing it.

    I am curious where your scholarly pastor thoughts go with your quote: “the danger is that we may fail to use our brains.” How might we possibly lose our hearts? If I had the time (maybe I should employ AI!) I would want to explore how brain and heart are combined in the learning process for humans. Maybe we can talk about brain learning/heart learning in Oxford. 🙂

Leave a Reply