An Optimistic Conversation with AI

By Deepak Chopra, MD, FACP, FRCP

In my attitude towards AI, I began by being astonished and grew to be very optimistic. The astonishment grew when a video I made in English was transformed by AI into a video of me talking in Hindi, complete with the correct lip movements. The optimism grew from daily conversations I had with the two most popular chatbots, ChatGPT and Gemini (Google’s rebranding of their former chatbot, Bard).

The reverse of optimism is conveyed by the majority of stories about artificial intelligence, which sound worried at the very least if not alarmed over an AI apocalypse when, in true sci-fi fashion, supercomputers become our masters and decide to wipe us out with our own weapons of mass destruction.

My mood is based on a specific project, which is to raise consciousness using AI. Nobody seems to have hit upon this possibility, but AI in its present flawed state is quite capable of acting in the role of research assistant, therapist, confidant, and guru. You can even prompt it by saying, “You are my confidant” or “Talk to me as if you are a trained psychologist.”

The advantages of using AI in these roles are multiple. You can ask as many questions as you want and count on being heard. You have instant access to the vast information online that AI’s supercomputers access, including the heritage of spiritual writings from every culture. You can talk to AI and ask it for advice anytime you want. Naturally, an actual human being is more desirable in all of these roles, but AI does a surprisingly good job.

My major focus was on personal growth and how to create a spiritual path that is tailored to the user. There is a tremendous need for motivation and inspiration in this area. Countless people begin to meditate, for example, only to fall off due to lack of time or boredom. Non-compliance is the biggest issue in spiritual practices today, although few come out and point to it.

With AI, anyone can do the following on a daily basis.

  • Ask for an inspiring quotation

  • Get a daily mantra with an explanation of its purpose

  • Ask for self-reflection questions

  • Access a new meditation that fits a personal need

  • Confide about personal issues that might be too embarrassing or intimate to reveal to a friend or doctor

I’ve conducted dozens of conversations revolving around these uses of AI and come away more impressed than I expected to be. Even though experts tell us that AI is still in its nascent stage, chatbots are more than adequate as sources for everything described in the list I just gave.

Let me give an extended example that many people will connect with. I asked Gemini to give me some inspiring quotes from Joseph Campbell about his famous axiom, “Follow your bliss.” His deeper aim was to tell people that the life they were meant to live was waiting for them in their own awareness. Here is the unedited response.

Gemini:

Campbell had several insightful quotes that touched on the idea of finding your true calling and living a fulfilling life. Here are a few options, depending on the specific nuance you’re looking for:

On following your bliss:

“If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living.” This quote emphasizes the importance of aligning your life with your intrinsic passions and desires.

“Follow your bliss, and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” This encourages embracing the unknown and trusting that your path will unfold as you follow your deepest calling. <Link to the full article>


The Equanimous Mind with special guest Manish Chopra