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Christians more likely to use AI at work than non-Christians: survey

iStock/Chor muang
iStock/Chor muang

Self-identified Christians are more likely to use artificial intelligence in their work on at least some occasions than their non-Christian peers, according to survey data released by the Barna Group. 

A new Barna report titled "4 Ways U.S. Adults Are Embracing Artificial Intelligence (or Not)" highlights data from a survey of over 1,500 adults in the United States conducted last summer.

The survey comes as Barna is partnering with Gloo, a technology platform used by over 38,000 churches, to "assess the growing questions, skepticism and excitement surrounding the technology."

The data suggests that nearly two-thirds of Christians in the workforce (62%) say that they use AI technology "often," "sometimes" or "not very much" for their work, while only about half (49%) of non-Christians responded the same. 

While 38% of Christian respondents told Barna that they do not use AI at all in their work, 52% of non-Christians responded the same. 

The survey was conducted online from July 28 to Aug. 7, 2023, through a consumer research panel. The margin of error for the sample is +/- 2.1% at the 95% confidence level. The sample size for the question asking respondents how often they are using AI for their jobs is 788. 

The study also suggests that while AI is considered valuable for research, it is not typically viewed as a way to find reliable advice or ask specific probing spiritual questions.

"U.S. adults don't see AI as a 'catch-all' tool to be used for every kind of problem or need. Instead, they are most interested in using AI for answering questions (37%) and research (35%) — and they're far less interested in using this technology for advice (14%) or spiritual questions (8%)," the report states. 

"Going further, there's even less desire to use AI to learn about Christianity or the Bible. Just 8% of Christians and 4% of non-Christians are interested in using AI to study the Bible. We see similar numbers when it comes to the use of AI to learn about Christianity (6% and 3%, respectively)." 

The study finds that most people believe AI should be used "cautiously, especially for more nuanced matters." Along those lines, only 27% of Americans agree that if they asked "a question about Christian teachings and beliefs to an AI tool, [they] would trust its response.'" 

Christians are slightly more likely to trust the AI tool response about beliefs than non-Christians (29% versus 23%), according to the Barna research. 

"These findings suggest two takeaways: First, there may be a need for greater digital literacy directed at Christians who seek to use AI to answer nuanced questions about faith. The higher trust Christians have in AI for these purposes is notable and something for Christian leaders to note," the study details.  

"Second, given the lack of trust from non-Christians with AI and faith, leaders will want to be mindful if choosing to use AI as any sort of evangelistic or apologetic tool — you may be met with skepticism or outright distrust." 

Last November, Barna released a report finding that 51% of surveyed respondents believed that AI is not good for the Church overall, with only 22% saying it was. 

Nicole Alcindor is a reporter for The Christian Post. 

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