In this brief series we have seen so many things that the current generation of chatbots cannot do well, or cannot do at all.* For my purposes, their main strength has been their ability to call on a vast array of background information. Sometimes the reference materials embedded in the bot can lead to an interesting conversation, for example this part of a conversation about Paul's letter to the Ephesians:
Me: In this text, please summarize how Paul describes the character of God. Please use only information available in this pdf.
Bot: Based on the information available in this PDF, Paul describes the character of God as a loving and gracious Father who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ. He emphasizes that God's grace is freely given to us through faith in Christ Jesus, and that it is not something that we can earn or deserve. Additionally, Paul describes God as a wise and powerful creator who has a plan for all things and has made known to us the mystery of his will through Christ. Overall, Paul's description of God emphasizes his love, grace, wisdom, and power.
I was reassured by the bot's ability to identify and discuss God's love and grace. I was intrigued that "wise" and "wisdom" were among its key points about God's character, so I followed up:
Me: When Paul discusses God's wisdom, does he associate it with any other attributes on particular?
Bot: Yes, Paul associates God's wisdom with his eternal purpose and his grace. In Ephesians 3:10-11, Paul writes that God's wisdom is made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places through the church, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. This suggests that God's wisdom is closely tied to his plan for salvation through Christ. Additionally, in Ephesians 1:7-8, Paul writes that God's grace is lavished upon us with all wisdom and understanding. This suggests that God's wisdom is also closely tied to his graciousness towards us as believers. Overall, Paul sees God's wisdom as an integral part of his plan for salvation and his graciousness towards us as believers.
The bot may not have an inspiring thought of its own, but St Paul does -- and the resulting conversation is edifying. Sure, I expect that the bot is summarizing its training materials -- that somewhere out there is a published Bible study behind its response, one that isn't receiving proper citation. That said: That Bible study is not on my own shelves either, and the conversation was worth having. There is potential to train a bot with Bible commentaries. Not only could a bot help with references and background information, but it could also bypass the standard internet search that can be effectively limited to the few most poplar sites or skewed by commercial considerations among other things.
But for those capabilities, we'll need to wait for at least the next generation of chatbots.
* Some of the things lacking in a conversation with a bot are so obvious that they can escape mention, even while being worthy of notice: A Bible discussion with a bot does not involve any fellowship, and so has less potential in many ways. It does not build a friendship, it does not grow the body of Christ, it does not foster family ties among the children of God, and it is not an opportunity to engage agape-style love. Though the same can be said of many modern pass-times.