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

Eve Poole and AI on AI and Eve Poole

Written by: on January 18, 2024

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a double-edged sword, a technological marvel that Eve Poole beautifully encapsulates in her insights. Let’s embark on a journey through the positives and negatives of AI, guided by Poole’s wisdom.

The Positives:

1. Amplifying Human Potential: Eve Poole eloquently articulates the positive potential of AI, stating, “AI has the potential to be a powerful tool for good, amplifying human capabilities and enabling us to achieve more than ever before.” Indeed, AI serves as a force multiplier, augmenting our intellect and creativity, propelling us toward new frontiers.

2. Medical Breakthroughs: Poole acknowledges the transformative impact of AI in healthcare, noting, “The potential for AI in medicine is immense.” With its ability to process vast datasets rapidly, AI is revolutionizing medical diagnostics, paving the way for personalized treatment plans and breakthroughs that were once unimaginable.

3. Environmental Stewardship: In addressing environmental challenges, Eve Poole observes, “AI can be a game-changer.” From predicting climate patterns to optimizing energy consumption, AI contributes significantly to our collective efforts in environmental conservation. It emerges as a powerful ally in crafting sustainable solutions for a greener future.

The Negatives:

1. Job Displacement Concerns: While recognizing AI’s potential, Poole urges caution, stating, “We must tread carefully to ensure that the benefits of AI are distributed equitably and do not exacerbate societal inequalities.” The automation capabilities of AI, while enhancing efficiency, raise valid concerns about job displacement, demanding a thoughtful and inclusive approach to workforce adaptation.

2. Ethical Dilemmas: On the ethical front, Poole emphasizes the need for robust frameworks, noting, “We must establish robust ethical frameworks to guide the responsible deployment of AI technologies.” The opaque decision-making processes and potential biases in AI algorithms require careful consideration and continuous oversight to ensure responsible and fair use.

3. Cybersecurity Risks: Highlighting a significant negative aspect, Poole states, “As AI becomes more integrated into critical infrastructures, the risk of cyber attacks and data breaches grows.” The interconnected nature of AI systems demands stringent cybersecurity measures to protect against malicious exploitation and breaches of privacy.

In conclusion, Eve Poole’s insights guide us through the nuanced terrain of AI, where the positives open avenues for progress while the negatives necessitate cautious navigation. As we leverage the benefits of AI, it is imperative to address its challenges with ethical considerations, inclusivity, and a vigilant eye on potential pitfalls. Striking this delicate balance is essential for harnessing AI’s potential while mitigating its adverse impacts on society.

Confession: Up to this point, this blog has taken me 45 seconds to write thanks to ChatGPT.

45 seconds earlier…Me to ChatGPT: Write a 300 word blog post on the positives and negatives of AI, quoting Eve Poole throughout.

Quite frankly, I’m a little disappointed that AI couldn’t incorporate a book as current as Eve Poole’s Robot Souls (1).  Can’t this thing teach itself to be a continual learner? (If you were close to human, AI, you should be feeling a bit of embarrassment right now after Poole wowed us in her book with how capable you are).

Second, it appears that AI (at least the ChatGPT version) needs to work on its footnotes/showing its sources better (or maybe there’s a way to do this that I didn’t take time to track down!).

With the word count I have left (thanks for nothing ChatGPT!), I would make a few of my own comments on this short book that I found partly intriguing and partly perplexing:

  • I most appreciate Poole’s exploration around what it means to be human in this book (Emotions, Mistakes, Story-telling, Sixth sense, Uncertainty, Free will, and Meaning (2)) as it pushes back against some of the cultural values we have around intelligence, efficiency and certainty and points to a more vulnerable, complex and ‘human’ human.
  • I am glad someone is thinking deeply about this area of technological development, and I am equally glad it is not me. Truthfully, I struggled to really follow her future-oriented thinking into the realm of Robotic consciousness and souls, and even after reading her book I would resist calling AI/computers ‘creatures’ and continue to view them as ‘tools’ for humankind to manage irrespective of how amazing they get.  It might be irresponsible to abuse my bike or my home, but I’m not sure it makes me ‘less human’  (Perhaps it makes me more human because I am using free will and making a mistake?) so I don’t think I can totally track with Poole when she suggests that abusing AI (she uses the word ‘them’ (3)) is dehumanizing us.  Doesn’t it dehumanize us if we think we can create something comparable to a human using 0’s and 1’s?
  • While I’m not too keen on creating a psychopath (Poole’s own words for logic-driven AI), I’m also not sure we need to expect computers to do ‘all things human’ well either.  Might we look to computing to help our left-side brain and look to the creative arts to express our more creative side?  We don’t want our engineers to adopt mistakes and uncertainty into their calculations on how to build a bridge or a skyscraper; Can we not ask for the same sort of precise logic out of our computers and be content with their expert contribution to one part of what it means to be human?

I said I would make a few comments about the book, but I probably asked more questions. That’s what this book evoked in me–lots of questions.  I think I’ll go back to ChatGPT to find the answers and see if it can tell me what it means to be human.


(1) Eve Poole, Robot Souls: Programming in Humanity, (Abington: CRC Press, 2024).

(2) Poole, Robot Souls, 73-91.

(3) Poole, Robot Souls, 16.


About the Author

Scott Dickie

4 responses to “Eve Poole and AI on AI and Eve Poole”

  1. mm Kim Sanford says:

    First of all, welcome back! It’s good to see you again and hear your thoughtful voice among our cohort!
    In your post you asked the question, “Doesn’t it dehumanize us if we think we can create something comparable to a human using 0’s and 1’s?” I really struggled with Poole’s premise that we owe some sort of dignity or “being-ness” to AI, and I think that’s what you’re getting at too. I would rather ask questions like, “How can we responsibly use AI for the good of humanity?”

  2. Scott Dickie says:

    Thanks Kim…and yes, I felt similarly uncomfortable. At times she was asking the question related to, “Can we get to this place of computer consciousness?” and at other times her statements seemed to presuppose that we (or they) are already there, which created a bit of the perplexity for me as I engaged with her book.

  3. mm Jana Dluehosh says:

    Glad you’re back Scott! I agree, as you already noted on my blog, that we both come at this with appreciation but deep hesitancy for AI. I used it to write a bibliography in Turabian style, but it failed to put it alphabetical which I believe was necessary for a bibliography. I was just talking with a friend about AI and noted how important it is to know writing, grammar, rules, etc, so that you can edit it, as you and I have proved, it’s not perfect! Our kids are in trouble if they don’t learn the slow way!

  4. mm Jonita Fair-Payton says:

    I concur… I am glad that you are back. Your voice was missed. You wrote; ” As we leverage the benefits of AI, it is imperative to address its challenges with ethical considerations, inclusivity, and a vigilant eye on potential pitfalls. Striking this delicate balance is essential for harnessing AI’s potential while mitigating its adverse impacts on society.” , I still have concerns how do we maintain this balance without it getting out of control.

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