Father Justin AI priest defrocked after inappropriate responses

Occurred: April 2024

An AI priest was taken down after it after it repeatedly claimed it was a real member of the clergy. 

Catholic advocacy group Catholic Answers released 'Father Justin', a bearded and frocked AI chatbot intended to provide answers to Catholic-related questions faster than its human apologists could do. The organisation had to take down a question-and-answer feature on its website some years before as its staff apologists had been inundated with queries. 

However, the bot was riddled with technical issues and quickly attracted criticism, notably concerning it's representation of the AI character as a priest. Others found him creepy, expressed concerns that he would replace human beings, and found its answers inaccurate and, at times, bizarre. It told one user that it was appropriate to baptise a baby in Gatorade.

The bot was suspended, with Catholic Answers saying it would be replaced with a lay character called 'Justin'.

Operator: Catholic Answers
Developer: Catholic Answers
Country: USA
Sector: Religion
Purpose: Provide Catholic information
Technology: Chatbot
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Employment; Ethics/values; Robustness; Safety