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Friday, November 13, 2009

The WikiPastor

In the Golden Age of Science Fiction (1950s-60s), authors like Ray Bradbury and Philip K. Dick wrote stories and TV programs like The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits produced episodes that said, in effect, "If ________ existed or occurred, what would happen?"  Here's an idea that some colleagues and I came up with yesterday.  Is there anyone out there who would write it?  Jot your notes in the comments section for us all to enjoy!

(Note: Don't interpret this as a veiled statement of some sort.  This is just a thought-experiment.  Have fun with it!)
WikiPros, Inc. markets a new product to churches struggling to maintain a full-time pastor due to the rising cost of health insurance: the WikiPastor, a synthetic being with an artificial intelligence capable of high-performance ministerial output for up to 60 hours per week.  When Faith Community Church purchases a WikiPastor after a lengthy and unsuccessful pastoral search process, WikiPros gives the church its own private page on the company's website.  The page is a wiki (like an article on Wikipedia) with a generic description of the church's new WikiPastor.  The WikiPastor's temperament, decision-making matrix, simulated emotions, communication style, activity priorities, "belief system," and so forth are all determined by the description written on the wiki.  And like any wiki, each church member gets unrestricted access to revise it.
What happens next?

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