The following was presented May 7, 2024, by Education Officer Joe West.

Would an Artificial Intelligence Want to Petition a Lodge?

—  RWB Chad M Lacek, Past Master of Dundee Lodge No 190 Carpentersville, IL  
Emessay Notes, March 2024  

I was recently made aware of an open Artificial Intelligence (AI) chat that became available late last year, called ChatGPT. This amazing resource has been used by many people to create things in seconds that would take a human hours to do.
Need some computer code to perform a complex data handling task? Just tell ChatGPT what result you want, and it will take care of the how. Clever (and lazy) students have been using it to write their term papers. It became so common, that administrators requested another IA be created solely to examine what the students turned in, to determine if an AI wrote it.
I wondered what this AI thought of our Fraternity. I asked it, “Can you compose a poem about the benefits of living a life informed by the values in Freemasonry?” This was its response:

A life informed by the values of Freemasonry
Is one filled with purpose, direction and charity,
A path of self-improvement, integrity and fraternity,
A journey of enlightenment, kindness and generosity.

In Freemasonry, we learn to be true to ourselves,
To strive for excellence in all that we do,
To be of service to others, to be kind and to help,
To build a better world for me and for you.

Through the practice of its teachings and its symbolism,
We learn to be better men, to grow and to learn,
To be of service to our fellow man,
To build a world that is brighter and less stern.

Freemasonry offers a way to live a moral life,
To be a light in the darkness, a beacon of hope,
To be of service to others, to be kind and to help,
To build a better world for me and for you, as we cope.

So let us embrace the values of Freemasonry,
And live a life of purpose, integrity and charity,
A path of self-improvement, fraternity and generosity,
A journey of enlightenment, kindness, and humility.

Let’s be honest. This isn’t great poetry by any standard. But that’s not the point. In the first place it’s pretty neat that a computer wrote a poem.
What’s much more significant are the words it selected to construct it. Consider that this AI is using the sum total of the billions of bits of information available to it on the World Wide Web. It’s “read” the conspiracy websites. It’s seen the anti-Masonic blog posts. It knows about the Morgan Affair. And yet, look again at what it wrote about our Fraternity.
This isn’t a biased opinion trying to advance some agenda. It’s an impartial, completely emotionless logic machine, looking at the available data and drawing a conclusion. Makes you feel good to be a Freemason, doesn’t it?
We are faced with a lot of noise from the “Vocal Minority” in our society today. These are a small, dare I say insignificant, group of people that shout their opinions very loudly and very often. As a result, it can appear as though they represent a majority view, when in fact the civilized majority refrains from shouting. They don’t need to.
This poem demonstrates that the totality of data about Freemasonry is overwhelmingly positive. I think we all knew that in our hearts, but it’s nice to get confirmation. It does beg the question though, that when AI advances to a level approaching consciousness, will your Lodge receive a petition from an artificial being? Good luck teaching it the due guards and signs.