I have read the articles and understand the concerns. I am grateful that so many wise people are helping our civilization think through these great questions. Personally, I would prefer to know the difference between a ‘deepfake’ version of a person I know, trust, and respect speaking to me, and the person themselves. I would prefer to know whether the information I read or watch has been created by a human being or a bot. However, where I don’t share the experience of the many commentators who are thinking through these questions is worry. I am not worried about AI. While I have preferences, I don’t have anxiety. That’s the gift of living your life as a spiritual being on the human path.
We are all spiritual beings on human paths, and the only meaningful difference between us is the degree to which we consciously realize this. Mahayana Buddhism teaches that we are the Buddha, that every single human is a fully enlightened being. The only distinction between us is that some of us awaken to this reality while others do not. Some people live their entire lives conscious of the Buddha at the core, while others live an entire lifetime without even one second’s acknowledgement of this reality. Most of us fall somewhere between these two poles.
When we meditate, we may have profound experiences of the presence of something greater than our local human mind’s consciousness. When we are swept up in the busyness of daily life, we forget. In all three cases – remembering, forgetting, and occasionally remembering – the Buddha lies at the core. This core is eternal, infinite, unchanging consciousness. It is beyond time and space, the invisible from which we come to take incarnation in a body and to which we return once the body wears out and dies.
When we move to this perspective in consciousness, we become witnesses of the material world. That material world has many ups and downs as we experience triumphs and disasters, poverty and wealth, love and anger, sickness and health, loss and gain. From the core, the Buddha witnesses it all with infinite compassion. As we live from that perspective, we aren’t worried about anything in the material world, including AI. We’re especially not worried about things we cannot change because the Serenity Prayer reminds us to accept them the way they are. This includes AI and any changes it produces in the world.
To the person living in the heart of the Buddha, the heart of the Christ, there is no fear of AI or anything else happening in the material world. Some things seem good, some seem bad, but from the core of being, we witness both with love and compassion. In that core, there is no fear, whether it’s AI, war, disaster, aging, death, grief, loss, or any other change.
To the person living consciously as a being of spirit on a human path, the scenery along that human path is interesting but not emotionally triggering. You understand you are pure love. You understand the fabric of the universe is pure love, and you enjoy a lived experience of pure love in every conscious moment. Material changes happen, and AI is one of those changes happening at the moment. There have always been changes going back as far in history as we know, and there always will be changes going far into the future as we can imagine.
In the mind of the Buddha, there are no ‘deepfakes.’ There is only the infinite reality of love. This was true before there was any technology at all. It was true before the first proto-human sharpened the flint and created the first tool. Today, the tool we worry about is AI. It has the potential to do far more good and far more harm than a Paleolithic hand axe. Tomorrow, there will be other tools to worry about. The future will bring new technologies that we can only dream about today, and with them will come more challenges and greater concerns. When our identity resides in the real world, the infinite, unchanging reality of consciousness, we have no fear of the tools being developed in the outside material world. We view the world with complete equanimity.
So, while we might have preferences when it comes to the material reality around us, when we live from our core, we live in the unchanging center of being. We are serene and peaceful in the midst of the material reality around us, regardless of the technologies that develop or the way the world changes.