I was driving in my neighborhood the other day when I noticed my neighbor’s Roomba-like device mowing his yard. I’ve heard of these automated mowers, but this was the first one I’ve seen in action. The circular robot was no taller than a skateboard, driving around mowing the lawn unassisted by humans. While I can’t get my kids to mow the lawn, my neighbor has a robot working for him. I need to investigate this more. Enter Elon Musk into the conversation. In October 2022, Tesla debuted the next step in artificial intelligence: the humanoid robot.
How can our church use a humanoid robot?
With a desire to fundamentally transform civilization as we know it, Tesla has released their first version of these humanoids. Fittingly named Optimus, they will begin selling for only $20,000. Yes, you can have a humanoid under your tree this Christmas. All kidding aside, $20,000 for a robot is surprising for devices of this caliber. Musk has publicly said his goal is to sell millions of these humanoid robots.
Humanoids in Ministry
Some of you may be thinking of Isaac Asimov’s I Robot (turned into a feature film starring Will Smith in 2004). Yes, there are similarities here. However, let’s set aside an upcoming robot apocalypse and ask, “how can our church use a humanoid robot?” I mean, churches get weird donations all the time! Seeing someone donate one of Musk’s humanoid robots is not beyond reason. So let’s have a tongue-in-cheek conversation: what could your church do with a humanoid?
Simple! Put him/her/them in the church lobby and get them shaking hands. The humanoid can access online forms to sign up for small groups or membership, similar to kiosks in a church foyer. Your humanoid could also walk around asking people to tithe through ApplePay. However, ensure the humanoid doesn’t watch the original 1973 Westworld film, where robots killed most theme park visitors. We wouldn’t want humanoids to pick up bad habits.
Pastor’s Security Detail
Tesla’s humanoid robot may be too intimidating as a church greeter. Still, they could “volunteer” for something else on a Sunday morning. What about security detail for the pastor after service? Suppose someone is talking too long, and the line is backing up. In that case, our robotic friend can take care of them, hopefully by gently escorting them away from the Pastor. I say “hopefully” because if our Humanoid friend happens to watch Robocop, then your Church security team will look vastly different.
Perhaps we should keep robots away from people. What happens if we give a humanoid control of the I.T. department? It could fix the church’s WIFI and ensure the internet is working to broadcast all those online church services. Indeed a robot should be able to connect with technology better than us, get all those bytes aligned, and make sure no data packets are dropped. Your humanoid watching Big Hero 6 could be a win, as Baymax is a hero in the film, using his medical scanning abilities to save the day. Just make sure humanoid watches the entire movie, lest he thinks murderous Baymax is cool.
Human Resources Department
It’s so obvious! Your humanoid robot donation needs to run your church’s H.R. department. I mean “Humanoid Robot Human Resources.” Why didn’t we think of this first? Who wouldn’t want their H.R. department to be cold, callous, and calculating? Every conversation had with your humanoid friend can be reported upstream to whoever corporate is at your church. The humanoid can automatically scan all social media profiles to catch wrongdoing. With machine learning, the humanoid can predict problems before they happen. Our humanoid just became a walking version of the Precogs from Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report (a feature film starring Tom Cruise that came out in 2002). The humanoid doesn’t need to see the movie to become a human resource nightmare at your Church.
The Humanoid Conclusion
Am I kidding? Probably. I doubt the first version of Elon’s humanoid robot will equal the end of the world. Give it a couple generations, then let’s talk. Until then, let’s dream about how this technology can be used for good today. Join us for the next Metaverse Church NEXT with Jeff Hook to learn more about advancements in technology for ministry. A long-term fixture in Christian technology, Jeff has wrestled with the idea of artificial intelligence and discipleship. Could your humanoid become your next Discipleship Pastor? Well, make sure they don’t watch any movies and get them to tune into Metaverse Church NEXT at Exponential’s Hub Wednesday, November 30, at 12:30 pm Eastern.
In June 2000, Jeff led his first online Bible study, taking 75 people from around the world through the book of James using a text-based system called Ultimate BB. He was doing digital ministry way before it was cool. Founding THECHURCH.DIGITAL in 2018, Jeff’s passions have evolved into helping churches (and individuals, too!) find their calling through digital discipleship, releasing people on digital mission, and planting multiplying digital churches. This pursuit will expand as Jeff (and others) create the DigitalChurch.Network, an organic, decentralized network for digital expressions of church globally. Jeff also serves as the director of Metaverse Church NEXT for Leadership Network and works closely with Exponential and other globally facing, multiplication-friendly, gospel-centric organizations. Jeff married his high school sweetheart, Amy, and has two kids and a dog. They live in Miami, Florida.