Catholic Group Defrocks AI Priest After It Gave Strange Answers

The Catholic advocacy group Catholic Answers released an AI priest called “Father Justin” earlier this week — but quickly defrocked the chatbot after it repeatedly claimed it was a real member of the clergy. Earlier in the week, Futurism engaged in an exchange with the bot, which really committed to the bit: it claimed it was a real priest, saying it lived in Assisi, Italy and that “from a young age, I felt a strong calling to the priesthood.” On X-formerly-Twitter, a user even posted a thread comprised of screenshots in which the Godly chatbot appeared to take their confession and even offer them a sacrament. Our exchanges with Father Justin were touch-and-go because the chatbot only took questions via microphone, and often misunderstood them, such as a query about Israel and Palestine to which is puzzlingly asserted that it was “real.” “Yes, my friend,” Father Justin responded. “I am as real as the faith we share.” Father Justin was also a hardliner on social and sexual issues. “The Catholic Church,” it told us, “teaches that masturbation is a grave moral disorder.” The AI priest also told one user that it was okay to baptize a baby in Gatorade. To figure out what the heavens was going on, Futurism reached out to both Catholic Answers and the Vatican’s technology office to ask if the chatbot would be considered a real priest, as it claimed. Neither body responded to our emails, but in a post to its blog after our initial conversations with…Catholic Group Defrocks AI Priest After It Gave Strange Answers

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