AI and the issue of what is real in Business as Mission

Let’s talk about how AI is everywhere right now. The subject of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is pretty much on all news mediums. I looked up the definition in the Kids section of Merriam Webster where it states, “The power of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior.”

While many people champion the potential of AI, a good many are not so sure and think that at least it should be controlled. For example, Dr. Geoffrey Hinton, known as the “Godfather of AI,” quit his lead researcher role at Google, warning of “bad things” that’ll result from “bad actors” using generative AI. He warned that the threat of artificial intelligence is a more pressing concern for humanity than climate change, in an interview with Reuters.

“Hinton’s primary fear is that the proliferation of AI-generated content will make it difficult to know what’s real…something many of us have fallen victim to (e.g., pope in a puffer). He sees the situation getting much worse if Google, Microsoft, and others don’t pause their AI arms race to assess the risks.”1

Most of us have probably been deceived by fantastic images, which look as real as one of our own photographs. It is hard to tell the difference. This all could be used to some real and important advantages, OR it could get really scary.

It is not only AI that is changing the landscape of post-modern mankind, as philosophers, educators, authors, scientists, historians, among others are asking: “What is truth?” and “What is real?”  Whole books are written and read by people willing to grapple with questions like these which seem to result in answers antithetical to historical understandings. With it difficult to determine where it all might lead, it may be important to know some of the basic fundamentals of business and missional truth.

A few thoughts as to non-negotiables for a Business as Mission (BAM) practitioner may serve as useful ponderables.  What is real? What is fact? What is truth for us?

  1. God is real and the ultimate determiner of TRUTH, with primary objective measure residing in the written Word of God. Remember John 18:17 “Your Word is Truth”. His grand purposes to bring glory to himself are at the heart of a BAM business. (Source: Bible; and Biblical Foundations Report at
  2. Man was given the ability to be co-creator with God, and the free enterprise system has from the beginning been capable of creating wealth, making a profit and seeking sustainability (Source: Wealth Creation Manifesto –
  3. Work and jobs are important to human dignity and wealth creation, thus bringing a near end to poverty, holistic transformation, and God’s kingdom to this earth, thus fulfilling His purpose. Money is not evil when used for good. (Source: The Coming Jobs War, Jim Clifton; the book of Proverbs; and
  4. All of creation is an integrated whole which mandates a care for creation and a holistic perspective and action, bringing together the spiritual, economic, social, environmental, and physical. The business plan is integrated with the missional plan. (Source: The Integrated Life: Experience the Powerful Advantage of Integrating Faith and Work, Ken Eldred; also the BAM A-Z booklet.
  5. People come first, after God. We are created in God’s image and for His purposes.  We were meant for relationship and collaboration. Teamwork is vital, and it is people who are our employees, clients, and customers (there is no business without a customer). This principle is why coaching is important; we cannot do it all alone. (Source: The ServiceMaster Story. Al Erisman; Matthew 23:11, 12)

Illustration: Morning Brew / Image: Noah Berger/Associated Press

Morning Brew, May 2, 2023

Larry W. Sharp, BAM Support Specialist, IBEC Ventures

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