What Should Be the Catholic Approach to Technology?

April 30, 2024 00:38:42
What Should Be the Catholic Approach to Technology?
Crisis Point
What Should Be the Catholic Approach to Technology?

Apr 30 2024 | 00:38:42

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Hosted By

Eric Sammons

Show Notes

The recent controversy involving Catholic Answers' "Fr. Justin" AI program raises deeper questions: How should Catholics use technology to advance the Faith? Should we accept and use all new technologies without question?
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Episode Transcript

[00:00:14] Yes, I love technology, but not as much as you, you see, but I still love technology, always and forever. [00:00:28] So the recent controversy involving catholic answers is Father Justin AI app leads to a whole host of deeper questions. How should Catholics use technology to advance the faith? Should we accept and use all forms of technology without question? That's what we're going to talk about today on crisis Point home. I'm Eric Sims, your host editor in chief of Crisis magazine. Before we get started, the usual, which is smash that like button, subscribe to the channel, don't hit the notify button, and we'll talk about that probably today when we talk about technology. You can subscribe to our email newsletter. Just go to crisismagazine.com, fill in your email address, and you'll get our article sent to you every day, two articles a day, right into your inbox. Also, you can follow us on social media. Rice mag okay, first, I just want to mention that there's a certain irony, a couple ironies here, but something very fitting. I had technology problems right before we went live, so I'm not 100% sure if this podcast is going to work, if the audio is okay, if the video is okay. I had to Jerry rig and basically add, I had a usb port problem, and so I'm using another thing. So anyway, the point is, is that of course, when I'm going to have my podcast on technology, I have technology problems right beforehand. So I think we all know, most of us know, about the whole controversy that involves when catholic answers released their five father Justin AI app that was to answer questions about the catholic faith. [00:01:55] And I won't go all into that. I had an article about it last week and editor's desk editorial about it last week at crisis. A lot of people have talked about it, and they ended up pulling the idea of a priest. They made it a lay person. It's just Justin now. He was lay aside so very quickly, so we can lay aside Father Justin, but for some reason, we can't lay aside Father Rupnik. Okay, so I want, I think, though, that this whole conversation, what I find is when we talk about things like this, the dominant segment in Catholic, of Catholics is that kind of a blind acceptance of new technology, that new technology is always a good or at least morally neutral. And so we just have to figure out how to use it for Catholicism. [00:02:44] I do not question the sincerity and the desire to promulgate the faith from people who do that. I do question, though, however, whether or not that's always the right attitude to have that I question the idea of, are all technologies morally neutral? Is it possible that some are inherently anti human and therefore anti Catholic just by their very nature? And so I thought it'd be good to talk about this now. I want state right at the beginning. I'm obviously not anti technology. Clearly, I'm talking to you on an Internet podcast. You're watching this either on YouTube or listening to on your podcast, on your smartphone. I run an organization that's 100% virtual, 100% on the Internet. Crisis magazine. We don't have a print magazine. We're just on the Internet. Everything we offer is on the Internet. So you can't say I'm anti technology. Clearly, I'm not. Also, I have a background in technology. My undergrad degree is actually in systems analysis. I was a computer programmer for over 15 years. I remember when the Internet really first hit in the late nineties. I was very involved in that. I was part of one of the first employees at a startup on the first web hosting companies. I actually wrote a shopping cart software in like, basically a weekend one time, because this is the late nineties, and they didn't have things like WordPress and Woocommerce that you could just plug a shopping cart into your website. So I wanted to create one that you could plug into your website. And so I did. I basically just wrote it from scratch. And, you know, it wasn't super successful, anything like that. A number of websites used it, but eventually it was just superseded, improved upon by other organizations much smarter than I am. So the point is that I am not anti technology. I am a tech geek in a lot of ways, to be honest. But at the same time, over the years, I've become more and more troubled by modern technology and what it means, what it means for us as humans and as Catholics. I wrote an article in the probably 15 years ago now concerned about the rise of the Kindle. And I mean, I'm not sure if the Kindle come out yet. I think so. But basically the e readers. [00:04:59] And it was my concern that reading on a device is not the same thing as reading in a physical book. They are different experiences. Your brain reacts to it differently. You remember things differently. It changes how you consume the information. So this is something that I've been talking about or thinking about for a very long time. [00:05:22] I do think that we have to take a hard look now. Again, I'm not anti technology in the sense that, like, I actually like the fact of modern life. A lot of technologies we have, I'm not one of these guys. Who wants to go back to medieval peasantry? I know life was very hard, very short. [00:05:42] It wasn't that great in a lot of ways. Yes, it was better in some ways, and I fully acknowledge that. [00:05:48] But just modern conveniences of modern medicine, modern home appliances, things like that, they really do have a positive impact in many ways. But I do think that we have to look at every technology, especially modern digital technologies, and ask ourselves, what does this mean for us as Catholics? Do we embrace these? Do we just simply accept them? Do we have some cautions? Do we let our kids use them? All these, I think, are important questions we have to look at. We can't just say, okay, it's all morally neutral. This is the argument that I always hear when there's some concern about new technology. Well, these are tools. They're morally neutral. That's a myth. That's not true. All tools, all technologies are not equal. Some impact you more than others. [00:06:40] I mean, a knife can be used for good, it can be used for evil. It's morally neutral in a sense. But a knife is more apt to be used for harm than, for example, a spoon or something like that. To use an extreme example, a nuclear bomb. That's just a technology. You can't tell me it's morally neutral, though, because obviously, yes. Could it be used in a morally good way, like I said in my last podcast? Maybe, possibly. But it's typically going to be used in a morally, in a immoral way. [00:07:15] And I think, though, the big thing I want to talk about though, is like modern technology, the digital life, that's what we're really talking about here. That, how does that impact us? I think it impacts us in a lot of ways we don't understand yet and is unseen because just think about from a consumption standpoint of consuming information, reading a book versus listening to the radio versus watching television, versus scrolling through social media, these are all different ways that we consume information, but they impact us in different ways. Our ability to remember what we consumed, how it impacts our, like, just our brains. I mean, there's a great article years ago about how Google is rewiring our brains. [00:08:08] And there's been studies that started on this, that, for example, doom scrolling on Twitter versus reading, let's say, Tolkien, they're not going to, they're not morally neutral actions. They're not morally equal actions. They impact us in different ways. [00:08:25] I mean, our heart rate, our stress levels, all these things. I mean, a lot of things have shown that, like modern media, especially social media, the Internet impacts our stress levels in ways unheard of. I mean, it's funny because people make fun of those who idealize the past, like, oh, you couldn't survive in the 1850s America farm, or something like that. And that's true. I probably couldn't survive in the 1850s farm in America. But I would argue that somebody who grew up in 1850s farm, if you slapped them into today's world and with all the modern stuff, I don't know if he would survive, because he's just not. I mean, it just, there's so much information bombarded by all of it. [00:09:13] And so I think these things are things we have to look at. And I think also it has a major impact on society beyond just individuals. I mean, a perfect example of this is, think about the modern feminist movement that really, I mean, it began, of course, in the 18 hundreds, which I think we should recognize what technologies were happening then. But it really took hold in the 1960s. What happened right before the 1960s? A lot of things. I'm not saying this is the only thing, but it became widespread use of household appliances. No longer was it necessary for somebody, almost always the woman, to stay at home, to basically run the household so that the people, the family could survive. [00:09:53] I mean, a woman in the house in the 18 hundreds, for example, was essential in most cases. Otherwise, the husband, the kids, they're all going to die because she has to cook the food, she has to prepare the food much more in depth, cook the food. She has to get, you know, clean things. She has to keep all this at the no refrigeration, all these things that a woman had to do while a man was maybe out in the farm or doing whatever he was doing. [00:10:17] So now, all of a sudden, those things aren't necessary anymore for a woman to do. She can get all that done in a much shorter timeframe. And then we see the, the rise of feminism, where there's talking a lot about women who feel just, they don't feel fulfilled as a housewife because, I mean, frankly, they have a lot of free time now. So I don't. I'm not claiming that the whole fitness, modern fitness is because of household appliances. I'm not saying household appliances are bad either. I'm just saying, though, that these technologies do have an impact we need to recognize at the very least, and I think we see this, how it's happening in the catholic church as well, that you see how much the media and technology is impacting us. I mean, streaming masses is a good example. So many parishes now stream all their masses and I don't think that's an unadulterated good. I mean, personally, I think maybe you should have the diocese stream one mass every Sunday for those who have to stay at home, who legitimately can't get out. [00:11:25] And so I do think that there's something to be said for kind of taking a step back and saying, wait a second. [00:11:33] Also, I would just say, like, for example, social media itself, it is designed, our smart devices and what have you, is designed to be addictive. That is not the same thing as a book. Now, I could probably claim, people might claim I'm addicted to reading. I mean, if you look all the books in my office, you might claim that. But clearly, it's not an addiction. Like, social media can be an addiction. I mean, people are spending hours and hours, and they don't even realize after they're finished what they've been spending their time on just scrolling through social media. But it's designed to do that. There's something called gamification that. I mean, I remember being involved in this, people talking about this. And at first, I was kind of like, wait, what? They talk about the idea that when you create an app, and I remember when this was back, this is near the end of my tech career, but the beginning of the smartphone apps. So I just started getting into this. The idea of gamification, you make it like a video game. [00:12:28] You get points, you give rewards, you give things that. That trigger certain things in your brain to want to come back. That's what the likes do on Facebook, for example. There's a reason you have likes on Facebook is because it triggers something in you. You want to go back and see, did somebody like this? It gives you a dopamine hit. And so these things are created purposefully to be addictive. I mean, the way the algorithm decides what you see on YouTube, it's made to make you come back for more. And so it's impossible for me to think that this is morally neutral, to purposely try to get people addicted to your product. I mean, how is that different than cocaine? How is that different from, you know, something like that? That, you know, you have a drug dealer, they purposely want. They know their product is addictive, and that's why they get kids hooked on it early. So they're addicted, they keep coming back for more. That's exactly the model, the sales model of social media. [00:13:28] So I think we just have to recognize that there is something here, that this is something, as Catholics, when we're looking at the fulfillment of the human person, we're looking at what it means to be human, what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. I think we have to look at all this technology and not just immediately say, well, we just have to be there. We have to be where the people are. I say this sometimes, so I'm not like, this is all, like, me thinking out loud. A lot of it is because I do some of these things as well. I mean, at crisis, I know we do so many things. This is one of the reasons I say, don't hit the notify button. I want you to come back to the channel and watch things that are helpful to you. I don't want you, though, to become addicted to, like, your phone, where all of a sudden it's telling you what to do. I don't think that's healthy. So I'd rather you not watch one of our podcast. One of our podcasts, rather than just be told every Tuesday and Friday, oh, Eric's got something else to say. I got to listen to it. No, that's not the way it should work. [00:14:23] And so I really think that we have to look at this carefully. And all that I've said so far, I haven't even mentioned artificial intelligence yet. I mean, there is some artificial intelligence involved in the gamification, the algorithm, all that. I get that. But, I mean, artificial intelligence is. Most people think of it. This is a whole new level, and this is bringing to the forefront, again, how, as Catholics, should we look at technology, particularly artificial intelligence? Now, I had a podcast. I interviewed Doctor Eugene Gahn of Franciscan University, Studentville, who's been involved in artificial intelligence for, like, 30 years, and he talked about. I recommend you go watch that. [00:15:00] But I want to be clear about some dangers of artificial intelligence. I don't think. I'm not saying this is impossible. I don't think it's likely, though, that robots, AI, are going to take over the world and destroy us all. I don't think it's impossible, but I don't think that's likely, at least anytime soon. [00:15:16] My big concern with artificial intelligence is it's designed purposefully to blur the distinctions between humans and machines. [00:15:26] There's something famous in the computer world. It's called the Turing test. It's named after Alan Turing. [00:15:31] It came up in the 1950s. It was this idea of. Here, I'll read it. Definition of it. It's the machine. A machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from that of a human. So the idea is maybe you have a wall. [00:15:47] You have a human on one side, and you have something else on the other side, and the human interacts with that something else. They don't know if it's a human or a machine. They interact with it. If they cannot distinguish whether or not it's a person, a human being, or a machine, and it is a machine. Let's say it passed the Turing test. Now, as Catholics, we go deeper, more philosophically, deeper than a lot of people in technology go. Like, they really don't understand the difference, for example, between a human and an ape or something like that. They don't see, and they reduce the human intelligence to the brain. And just like these physical processes, and we know that there's something called the mind, which is not the same as the brain. It goes much deeper than that. [00:16:31] So I don't think it's possible to create artificial intelligence that truly has a mind, has an intelligence like a human intelligence. I don't think it's possible. But note, the Turing test doesn't even say that. It just says it's indistinguishable from that of a human. I don't think it will ever be equivalent to. But I could see it being indistinguishable from. In fact, that's exactly where we're moving towards. If you look at artificial intelligence, it's trying to be more and more human. And I think that's a real problem. [00:17:02] That's a real problem because you start to not be able to distinguish who are you talking to? And this is one of the big problems I have with the Father Justin AI program. Catholic answers put out. Obviously, being a priest was the major problem, and he did take care of that. And just to be clear, I like catholic answers, support them, think they do a lot of great work. I just think this was a mistake. [00:17:24] It was a mistake to make it a priest, obviously. I mean, it literally was giving absolutions. At one point, it was claiming to be a catholic priest, talking like it was one. That's a bad move. But I think even as a layperson, made up as a layperson, I think it's a real problem, because it's it. When you have that communication, your brain acts in certain ways. [00:17:47] Knowing who you're interacting with, what you're interacting with, you don't treat. And this is why, for example, one of the reasons why social media is dangerous, you don't treat the person in on social media that you interact with the same as you treat a human being in person. I mean, it's just like an avatar. Well, we're starting to not understand what's the difference between an avatar and a real person, because the avatar might be a machine that actually acts pretty human. [00:18:15] So in the case of like, for example, Father Justin, I think the AI program, if you're going to have an AI program that answers questions, it should be text based, only kind of like chat. GPT is right now, only text based. And it should say very clearly, this is basically an AI program that's using a database of answers to answer your questions, a database of information that we have put together to answer your questions. So there's no, so there's less possibility of this not understanding. You're getting a human being or you're getting a computer talking to you, because the more you make a human, the more than all of a sudden the relationship between the person and the program changes. And people say, oh, people anybody knows, they would know the difference. No, that is not true. Especially for young people. Especially for young people who their whole world is, revolves around computers. It's very difficult for them. I mean, one of the things I thought about when it was first, when it was Father Justin, I didn't even mention my article, is how unfair it is to priest, because this is the same thing. I think I had a podcast about this, or at least an article about the romantic AI partners that are being created. I mean, this is just scary stuff. Do not look this stuff up. It's just, it's awful. But basically, it's for lonely men who don't have girlfriends, can't get girlfriends, and they basically get a girlfriend, quote unquote girlfriend. As an AI program. Think about how awful that is for the, for the young man who's, who's got the AI girlfriend, obviously, but also for all women in his life now, they are put up to a standard. They cannot meet because the AI girlfriend's never going to get tired, never going to be irritable, always going to be in a good mood, always is going to look their best. You know, all the things that you can imagine a computer can do, a person cannot do. Well, the same thing is true for a father Justin. As it gets more and more. He's never going to be irritable. I mean, think about it. He's always got an answer. He's always polite and nice. You deal with that. And all of a sudden you see your pastor after mass one day and he's just had a, let's say he's had a terrible week. Maybe he's coming down with something, whatever and you ask him something, he gives you kind of a short answer. Well, that's human. Priests do that. Priests are humans, too. They are going to sometimes, you know, maybe be irritable just like the rest of us. They're not always going to have an answer for you. They're not always going to be able to help you. They do their best, but they're human. Well, now, though, they're put up to a standard against a father Justin who never is irritable, always has an answer to your question, always is polite and nice. It's just not right. There's just a problem with that. And I think that's one of the deep problems with all these humanized AI programs, is they create in our minds an idealized form of this, of others, of what people are supposed to be. I mean, this is a problem with a lot of what goes on in just regular media. I mean, go back to television as well, because you see these maybe women who are always look their best and things like that. You get situation trying to keep this be a family program, but you get situations where men and women are in, they never have any bad consequences. And all of a sudden that, that forms your view of the world. And now, and you don't realize in the real world there are consequences to actions, even if they might not be in Hollywood. Well, now we have AI, always perfect, always doing things the right way. [00:21:47] That's, but looking human, that's the key. And we see this, of course, with just not being a distinguished reality from, from fake news, so to speak, with the AI, deep fakes and things like that. There was a story, I did not read deeply into this, but some teacher got accused of going on a racist rant. This was back in January, I think it was in Baltimore, but I can't remember now the recording of him supposedly going this racist and anti semitic rant. And he was like fired, I believe, and they were bringing up charges. I can't remember what was going on with it. Ends up it was an AI program that basically had recordings of his voice and made him say, had it saying these things. It was not real. I mean, those of us who have spoken a lot online, like me, like in this video, an AI program could very easily create something that's going to come pretty close to me and sound just like me, even talking the way I talk and like the word choices I use. You can create an AI program. Now at this point, it's not yet to a point where it's, it's, I think most people would tell a difference. But it's getting very close. It's getting very close. And I predict in just a few years it might be indistinguishable between me actually talking to you and an AI program faking as they're me. Not that they would necessarily pick me, but you know, I mean, any public figure who, who has spoken a lot online, and I think that's a real, I mean, these are dangers. And so I really do think that the Catholic Church has to come to grips with this. The church has to decide, has to really look at this and say, are there any limits? Are we just going to always say new tech? We'll just embrace it, we'll find ways to use it to promulgate the gospel because frankly, that's not been working for us. One of the things that I've really come to the conclusion of, if you look at the numbers of people leaving religion in the western world, particularly in America, what you see is of course, has been declined since the 1960s. But there's a huge drop after the year 2000, around the year 2000 to today. I mean it much worse than between the 1970s, for example, in 2000, a much bigger drop after 2000 2005 around them. Well, obviously we can't say this is the reason or that's the reason. There's not one reason. But I do think one major factor is that's the time of the rise of the Internet. I mean, the Internet really came into being in the late 1990s, but it was in the early two thousands that you really saw the rise of social media, you know, Google, YouTube, things like that. [00:24:21] And I think there's something to be said for the fact that a lot of the things that the church helped people find fulfillment in, people found fulfillment through the church in a lot of ways, both natural and divine. [00:24:39] They now find pseudo fulfillment on the Internet. [00:24:42] One example just is community. [00:24:46] A church provides, a parish provides that sense of community, that bond we need with other people, that we have common cause. We work together, we're friends and we spend time together, we talk about things. [00:24:59] You can do all that online now. Now, I don't think it's the same, I don't think it's as good, but I do think people can find pseudo fulfillment, a pseudo fulfillment of community needs on the Internet. They think they're being fulfilled. They don't realize there's something much better, but they spend their time on the Internet. They don't need to go to mass, be part of a parish community. It's a lot messier anyway because online you can just turn it off. You can just block somebody. You can just ignore somebody in real life. You really do have to hang out with that person. You might not like that much to hang out with. I mean, half my parish probably thinks that about me, but, you know, that's just the way it is. They got to hang out with me. I'm going to be there after mass. Sorry. [00:25:38] So the point is, though, is that we've already seen that. I think modern technologies had a real negative impact on the church's ability to do its mission. And I think we don't have answers. And I just to be clear, I don't have the answer either. I'm not saying the catholic church must do x and then everything will be better. I think this is a one of the biggest challenges in the history of the church. I'm not giving over to, like, hyperbole when it comes, like, this is the worst crisis or anything like that. I do think, though, this is major. Just like the enlightenment, the printing press, you know, things of the finding the new world, industrial revolution, you know, that modern technology, I think modern digital, the digital life, I think is one of the biggest challenges to the catholic church in her history, because we're creating a brand new pseudo world that is ultimately not fully human and does not need God. [00:26:43] It does not believe it needs God, at least. And so we're finding this. [00:26:49] People are just not going to the catholic church anymore for fulfillment. They're going to their local online community, the social media, Instagram, whatever the case may be. [00:26:59] And so we have to do something about. So what is it that we do? I think the first is we have to stop this attitude of just blindly accepting new technology and how we have to use it. As Catholics, I don't think that's the the way to go. I'm not saying we reject either. Obviously, I'm using it right here, but I think we have to be more intentional. Here's where something I think people, I read a great book about the Amish actually called better off. [00:27:24] It came out like maybe 10, 15, 20 years ago, something like that. And I read, and one of the things it notes is that it's not that the Amish are anti technology. Obviously, they use technology at times when they have. It's just not electric technology. Their point is to be intentional. They decide as a community, is this something we want to use? Will it make us a better community? Will it make us better as our better Amish or whatever the case may be? [00:27:50] And I don't. I think we need to do that as well as Catholics. Be more intentional. Not that we reject all electronics or anything like that. If somebody wants to do that, that's fine with me. But I think we are more intentional and say, are there limits? Are there things we won't do? Like, for example, the use of AI. Are there way places we won't go? And I think humanized AI is one of those places. I think Catholics should just say, nope, we're going to draw the line here. We're not going to do this. It ends up because here's what we're trying to do, is, when I say we're intentional, what we're doing is we're doing a cost benefit analysis of every new technology. We're not just simply saying there are no costs. Let's look at the benefits. We're saying there are costs. There are always costs to new technologies, but there are benefits which, you know, and we weigh it and say, are the costs greater than the benefits? The problem is, the benefits are always very obvious. The costs are not just, for example, for the last three years, I've used a dumb phone. It finally died on me, and I'm back to using a smartphone, because I had my old smartphone still, and I just popped the, you know, the SIM card back in there so I could use that. [00:29:00] And one of the things that I've realized is, like, when I started using the smartphone again, this only happened about a month ago, I was like, yeah, there's a lot of benefits to having a smartphone. A lot of benefits that I missed over the last three years. I mean, just. Just convenience. But not having a smartphone for three years really helped me to understand the cost of a smartphone, that having a smartphone has real cost associated with it that can be very detrimental to life. And because I know the cost, I'm hoping, at least for now, I might again get a dumb phone again someday. [00:29:33] I will at least use my smartphone such that I get the benefits, and I maximize the benefits by minimize the cost. But it has to be very intentional. If I don't think about it, and I can think about it better, because for three years, I didn't have one. If I don't think about it, though, I'll just fall into the blind scrolling things like that. Like, I have very few apps, no social media apps on my cell phone, very few other apps I try minimize how much, excuse me, how much I use it. So I think that's what we have to do as Catholics. [00:30:04] We have to be very intentional, be very careful about what is, what technologies we use and how we use them, like AI. Not saying don't use AI at all. Maybe that's what we should do. But I am saying don't humanize it. Make it as inhuman as possible on purpose. So people know this is not a human being you're talking to. This isn't a simulation of a human being. This is just a machine regurgitating information for you, giving you information in an easy to use format. That's all it is. [00:30:38] I also think, though, that, and this probably won't come as a surprise to most of you. I think one of the things the Catholic Church should do is we should embrace our traditions because our traditions are ancient. The catholic church is ancient. It's traditional. [00:30:53] The whole world right now is going modern, modern, modern, where the latest is the best. As Catholics, I think we should say, no, what is the oldest is the best. What has been around for a very long time, not just old, but been well used, because that's what modern world says to you, is if you had a phone for a year, you have to get the next one. You have to upgrade. It's no longer useful. What the Catholic church is saying is if it's been used for the longer it's been in use, the better it is. And that is a truth that I think, as Catholics, we need to embrace. [00:31:32] You see, of course, slip into the liturgy in the catholic church. You know, a Novus ordo parish, they're like, okay, what's the most recent music we can use? What's the most recent thing we can do? You know, how can we, the most recent way, do homiletics and things like that? Where are the most recent options we use in the mass of people? Are all the cool priests are using things like that? No, no, no. [00:31:55] What's been used the longest is probably the best. So let's do that. So like the whole world is zigging towards the modern. We should zag against it. Now. The result of that will be a lot of people will reject the catholic church because they've. They've been sucked into the modern mindset. I acknowledge that. I know that the typical modern mind does think whatever's new is the best, but it's not like we're attracting people to catholic church now the way it is by embracing that. Because what happens is all we do is we do a poor simulation of the modern when we do it. It's like using the contemporary music at mass. You end up just doing 1970s folk music for 30 years. You cannot be as good as the culture is at being fully modern. So we're just like a fake. [00:32:49] A fake, poor imitation of what the modern world does. So we're not attractive at all. So I say, while they're zigging, we zag. We embrace our traditions. We embrace things like a mass that is, frankly, a bit. [00:33:09] What's the right word for this? A bit incomprehensible. It's not just a. Okay, instant, easy access. Everything that modern technology is, it's something you have to think about. It's something you have to really go to for months before you truly even begin to understand what's going on. [00:33:29] I think that's something that is attractive to many people who see the modern world and its deceits and its lies and says, this is not going to give me fulfillment. The open soul that looks at the modern world and says, hey, I know. It's telling me I'll be fulfilled if I just look at my phone all day and I just, you know, do all the things it tells me to do. But I know that's not fulfilling. So I'm going to go this way. I'm going to go this direction. I mean, see, Wyoming Catholic college is a good example of somebody organization doing this. They purposely don't let you use smartphones or device. I don't think you have any cell phone there. I'm like, I can't remember the exact rules. They do things like, they go horseback riding. They're in nature, they go camping, all these things. And are they huge? Do they have, like, thousands and thousands and tens of thousands of people going there? No, but they do form people in a really human way. And I think that's what we need to do. And I think on a parish level, we also just. We don't have to stream our masses. We. We don't. We don't have to do a lot on the Internet. You should. I mean, I do think a parish have a website with their basic information so that it's easy for travelers and others to say, oh, yeah, I didn't. I wasn't there last week. I didn't get the bulletin. You know, what's going on this week? Whatever. I'm totally fine with something like that. Because, again, it's not this interactive kind of sucking you into a humanized form of entertainment or whatever. [00:34:50] Now, ultimately, of course, most of us who are listen. Talking here or listening to this, we can't do much at the parish level, and obviously not the diocesan level or the church level. I do think we can start, though, at home. We can start at home, in our own families, in our own little kind of circle of influence restricting smart devices. Obviously, I don't think that young people should have smart devices for a very long time. We can have tech timeouts, I think encouraging reading books, I mean, just having your children read physical books, not ebooks. I'm not saying ebooks are evil, anything like that. I do think, though, it's very different how you consume, how you process information by reading a physical book and an e book. And I think this has been shown by, like, scientific studies as well. [00:35:37] And I think things like really being involved at your parish in the sense of you're going to mass, you're hanging out with people at your parish, spending time at parish picnics, things like that. I mean, that's real life, not just, you know, I know parishes often have like a email group or something like that, or a chat group. I'm not a big fan of those, to be honest, because I think it becomes, there's just so many dangers because you can take things the wrong way. If I'm talking to somebody after Mass and we're hanging out and I say something that maybe he takes the wrong way, I know it immediately because I can tell by his body language, and so I can correct his impression. Maybe I said it wrong, maybe what I said was wrong, maybe he misunderstood it. But we can work that out right there. You say something, though, in an email group and you just say, hey, you know, this, whatever. Well, people can take offense by it. They don't have an opportunity to see what you meant by your facial expressions when you said it. If you were joking, whatever. Now all of a sudden you have a conflict between you because it was all online. No, really emphasize the real, real life, spending time together, you know, getting together as a parish family and spending time. I think that's, that's the way we have to go. I think we need to. I'm not saying we have to go full Amish. I'm not against people, frankly, that go full Amish. Obviously not the amish religion. Don't get me wrong. Nobody say, Eric Salmon said, go become an Amish. You know, Amish religion. Catholics always, just to be clear. And I think the Amish should become Catholic, by the way, and they can keep doing their, what they're doing. As far as their technology stands, I don't care. [00:37:14] But I do think we need to be very intentional, very reflective about how we use technology. And I think catholic organizations should do that too. As long as I'm in charge of crisis I'm not going to be using AI for anything. Not to write articles, not to generate things. I mean, I really don't think that's the way to go. And I think other catholic organizations should kind of be a little more reflective before they just jump into a new technology and say, what are the actual costs? And when you figure out the cost, it's going to take time. The benefits are easy to see. They sell you on the benefits. The costs are much harder to recognize. I think we need to look at those before we just embrace new technologies. So, as my friend from Napoleon Dynamite movie, I can't remember his name as Napoleon's brother. Oh, I can't remember his name. He says, I love technology. [00:38:03] Yes, I do, too, in a lot of ways. But we have to recognize it's not the end all, be all. And we have to understand that it can have a lot of dangers. And as Catholics, we need to look, be clear about those dangers and try to avoid them. Okay, I'm going to wrap it up there. Until next time, everybody stay off technology. Don't ever watch this podcast again. Burn all your computers and devices. Okay, I don't really mean all that, but you know what I mean. Okay, until next time, everybody. God love.

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