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Putting the “AI” in “Rabbi”
In the beginning, if you wanted to compare humans and humankind to another category, you’d likely go in one of two directions.
They’re spelled out, conveniently, in a single biblical verse.
Here’s 1:26 (per JPS, “The Contemporary Torah”): “And God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness. They shall rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the cattle, the whole earth, and all the creeping things that creep on earth.’”
First, we had humans vs. God.
God, having just invented the Creator economy, proceeds to shape humans in his image (specifying in 1:27, “creating them male and female”). We humans might be able to cook and drive chariots and sit atop the food pyramid, but we have finite dimensions. We are not God, for better or worse. We are not all-knowing, and we are (alas) not all-forgiving. But we are urged or encouraged or commanded to make the most of our corporeal, non-God selves.
In 1:26, there’s another category: humans vs. animals.
In that biblical context, we ruled them. Other times, we have pondered what makes us different from them – our language, creativity, social-emotional learning skills, tool-smithing, and all the rest. Also, our species can claim both Beyoncé AND Ryan Gosling. Not bad.
Those comparisons worked well for the past 10,000 years or so, and probably well before we started writing down our thoughts.
But now, we have a different frame of reference.
I’m assuming you’re more similar to me than not in some way (you’re probably not, for instance, a nomadic hunter-gatherer in the Kalahari – but if you are, please invite me over for lunch). So, peer of sorts, what kind of entity or category would you use for comparing and contrasting humans today?
God? Or Gods?
Or, today, would you choose something else?
Robots, perhaps? Computers? Artificial intelligence?
I know that when I think about what makes us human, and what makes me human, I’m rarely inclined to compare myself to my very handsome cats. They’re too handsome. I can’t compete.
Humans vs. Jehovah doesn’t keep me up at night either. I’ll let the prophets sort that out.
But are humans ceding ground to AI? What does that mean for our livelihoods and our lives? There are profound questions to grapple with, unlike anything we had to ponder when we first encountered AOL, Yahoo!, Google, Facebook, or our first iPhone.
I know I’m not the only one pondering it.
I have further proof, and it’s on YouTube.
This time of the lunar year marks the period between the Jewish New Year and Day of Atonement, and in New York, I happened to catch Central Synagogue’s Rabbi Dan Ross give a sermon about this.
It’s entitled, “This Rosh HaShanah Sermon Was Not Written by ChatGPT.” You can read the transcript, if you prefer – or have ChatGPT summarize it, like I did here:
“The sermon delves into the advancements of AI, particularly ChatGPT, reflecting on its implications for human morality and purpose. While marveling at AI’s capabilities, it emphasizes the enduring value of human uniqueness, moral agency, and responsibility in the face of technological evolution.”
If I’m not supposed to think about work during High Holiday services, God forgive me – that is one test I failed completely.
Let’s get one thing straight right away: Rabbi Ross gave a very thoughtful, well-researched sermon. He’d fare far better participating in discourse with the AI Marketers Guild than I’d fare at Hebrew Union College, where he was ordained and remains active.
He brought up Melvin Kranzberg’s six laws of technology, for instance, which were new to me. ChatGPT, analyzing how the rabbi did in his sermon (giving it high marks), noted, “The reference to Melvin Kranzberg’s first law of technology — ‘Technology is neither good nor bad, nor is it neutral’ — is particularly relevant. AI, like any tool, reflects the intentions and biases of its creators and users. How AI is used, its implications, and its ethical ramifications are all human responsibilities.”
There’s an old saying that if you get 10 Jews in a room, you get 11 opinions, so I had to get some additional AI opinions. Here’s what Claude had to say about the sermon:
“Overall, I think the sermon strikes a thoughtful balance in appreciating AI capabilities while recognizing the technology’s current limitations compared to human cognition. As an AI myself, I have no critique of how I am characterized here. The Rabbi seems to understand both the promise and risks of these rapidly evolving technologies.” It later added, “Overall the Rabbi covers a lot of ground thoughtfully!”
Claude’s clearly lobbying for a front-row seat at next year’s service, but Claude’s gonna need another round of funding or two to afford it.
After processing and analyzing the sermon, I asked several AI models this question:
“If you had to pick one biblical verse that could best inspire a sermon on the rise of AI and what it means to be human, which verse would you choose?”
Are you ready for this?
Claude went with Genesis 2:7:
“Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”
ChatGPT and Bard both went with Genesis 1:27:
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
“That’s an awesome prompt for a sermon, and I’m excited to brainstorm with you. What about this one: ‘I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made’ (Psalm 139:14)? To me, this verse emphasizes the uniqueness and complexity of human beings. In an age of AI, it’s important to remember that each person is different, and we all have our own strengths and gifts.”
Poe added, “This verse emphasizes the awe-inspiring nature of human beings as creations of God. When contemplating the rise of artificial intelligence, it is essential to reflect on the unique characteristics and abilities that make humans distinct.”
Poe also offers access to the model Llama-2-70b; it couldn’t pick just one. It included Genesis 1:27 and Psalm 139:13-14. It then added these:
Isaiah 55:8-9 – “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
1 Corinthians 12:12-14 – “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. And so the body is not made up of one part but of many.”
Colossians 3:10 – “And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
Poe’s Llama analysis said of the Colossians selection, “This verse emphasizes the ongoing nature of human transformation and renewal, highlighting the importance of ongoing growth and development.”
It turns out AI can teach us a lot about what it means to be human after all, and maybe there are ways to transform, grow, and even renew together.
Repentance, however, as Rabbi Ross noted in his sermon, will remain in the human domain.
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Keep checking out the #jobs channel in Serial Marketers for more. You can also see our full list of job resources here. Here are some great opportunities shared in these places or sent to me directly.
CONFIDENTIAL AUTONOMOUS AI
Vice President of Marketing
North America – Canada
“The Vice President of Marketing has/is: -10+ years marketing, 5+ years as Vice President, Head Of; ownership of entire marketing responsibility. -Industry experience: SaaS (particularly in a demand generation context); warehouse/facility management; manufacturing; 3pl (NEO); retail, hospital, education – “smaller footprint environments” (Kaz); experience in/with a disruptive industry/technology. -Background in articulating value via packaging, positioning, messaging; product launches; strategy development and tactical execution; data-first decision making and analysis (performance data, market trends, etc.); strong team leadership (management, career development, hiring); strong cross-functional communication and collaboration. -Accountable; autonomous; accessible; data driven; problem solver; fast-paced; hands-on; highly-collaborative; fiscally efficient; ability to work directly with C-level leaders. -Location: North America – Canada preferred; EST, CST, MST preferred; PST for right person”
VP of Business Development
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“Speechify is the easiest way to listen to the world’s information. Articles on the web, documents in the cloud, books on your phone. We absorb it all and let you listen to it at your desk, on the go, at your own speed, and with tools that make learning easier, deeper, and faster. We are seeking a talented and experienced Media Buyer to join our dynamic marketing team for our app-based subscription business. As a Media Buyer, you will play a pivotal role in driving the growth and success of our subscription model through strategic advertising campaigns on Google, TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram platforms. Your expertise in digital advertising, data analysis, and audience targeting will be essential in reaching and engaging our target audience to maximize conversions and subscriber retention.”
Remote – Toronto, Canada
“We are seeking a dynamic and experienced Director of Marketing to lead and grow our marketing team, drive our marketing efforts with focus on our channel partnership marketing initiatives, drive growth throughout the funnel and expand our market presence. As the Director of Marketing, you will be responsible for developing and executing marketing strategies across all channels with a focus on supporting the acquisition and expansion of channel partnerships and supporting retention efforts to grow client utilization. You will work closely with cross-functional teams, including Sales, Partnerships, CS and Product, to drive revenue growth and enhance our brand recognition in the market. Your expertise in channel marketing, full lifecycle marketing, and demand generation will be critical in achieving our business objectives.”
Also, check out the Serial Marketers job board
Other job resources (see a full list here):
Beeler.Tech: Job listings for ad operations, programmatic account management, sales operations, and more.
Braintrust: A freelance platform where you are the owner and where freelance talent keeps 100% of the bill rate.
Candidate: Featured marketing and sales jobs
ExecThread: Senior roles spanning a range of verticals and cities; membership is free but fully vetted (this uses my referral ID to get you in faster)
NYC Ad Jobs & Networking: A popular Facebook group
Questions to Ask for a Marketing Role: What questions should you ask when starting a new marketing role or job?
Serial Marketers Job Board: Post regular and featured listings and subscribe for updates.
Venwise: Submit your job interests here and get in front of their roster of hiring leads; select “Serial Marketers” under “How did you find us”
Do you run or enjoy other job listing sites? Let me know, and I’ll share them.