This story was originally published on Feb. 28, 2024. It was republished and reaired on June 4, 2024.

The advent of new technology, like artificial intelligence, often poses a wide range of opportunistic possibilities, but it also has the potential to have a detrimental impact on racial wealth equity in the United States. According to a 2023 McKinsey Institute for Black Economic Mobility study, generative AI has the potential to widen the racial wealth gap by nearly $43 billion a year. The study also found Black workers are at greater risk of losing their jobs to automation than white workers.  

The news isn’t all bad, however. Deployed thoughtfully, generative AI technology could remove barriers to Black economic mobility, the study shows. AI technology continues to pop up elsewhere too, outside of employment, including at church. Some of Detroit’s Black church ministers have begun to explore the impact of artificial intelligence on the African American community and the role of the church in addressing the rapidly evolving technology.  


Guest Host Orlando Bailey of BridgeDetroit discusses the challenges and potential benefits of AI with Rev. Cindy Rudolph of Oak Grove AME Church and Rev. Lawrence Rodgers of Second Baptist Church. The ministers explained that while AI represents technological advancement, it can be detrimental to the Black labor force and young people’s emotional and social well-being.

They discuss the economic threat AI poses to the Black community, especially in Detroit, and the importance of teaching youth how to use AI appropriately. The group also talks about the Black church’s role in addressing the moral and ethical concerns presented by AI, the need for lawmakers to come up with regulations governing this emerging technology, the importance of young African Americans being trained in the STEM fields, and how AI cannot replace the pulpit. 

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