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Dvar Torah - Acharei Mot

AI is one of the most exciting phenomena currently created by and changing our society. We hear all the time about how AI will change culture and us. We hear about how it has turned the corner, and now AI can closely mimic human behaviour. We hear about how in school and university, they won't be able to distinguish between something a human wrote and something written by a computer, making cheating much more straightforward. I asked an AI writing engine to write me something about holiness (an essential topic in this week's Torah reading) to test this proposition. This was the result:

As we go about our daily lives, it's easy to overlook the spiritual significance of the mundane. However, by recognizing the holiness in everyday life, we can find deeper meaning and purpose in our existence. Whether it's through small acts of kindness or simply appreciating the beauty of the world around us, there are countless ways to tap into the sacredness of the ordinary. By doing so, we can cultivate a greater sense of inner peace, joy, and connection to the divine.

This piece is generic. It also completely fails to capture the Jewish view of holiness. It is generic because it merely says we should see holiness more around us. This is true. It is also dull and cliched.

It is inconsistent with a Jewish understanding of holiness because it misses the most critical point. The Torah approaches holiness and divine connection as something we do, not something that passively exists, which we must find. We create holiness in our lives. We are the spark of divinity. We access it not by "finding" it but by nurturing the divine within us and causing it to grow into a raging bonfire. The Torah commands us to "be holy," not to "uncover holiness."

Unsurprisingly, AI failed to capture the nature of holiness, something we make. AI is only a clever way for a computer to regurgitate what it has read in other places, usually online. It won't manage to have an original thought or be insightful. However, we can. It is for this reason that we can be commanded to be holy.

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