Apparently Artificial Intelligence (AI) is about to end the need for journalism and academic writing, replace research and philosophical inquiry, and make higher education and human knowledge superfluous—all in the next few months or years. (If you haven’t already, log on to ChatGPT to understand the hubbub. And no, I did not use it to generate this memo or to edit it, although I’m sure you can ask it to improve it, and it will.)

Six decades in this world have taught me at least two things: 1) that technology-induced apocalypses are as unlikely as hyperbolic prophecies about them are commonplace; and 2) that technology may displace humans, but it never replaces them. Levers, inclined planes, and pulleys do not keep people from going to the gym to build muscle (at least that’s the rumor). The wheel did not keep Roger Bannister from running a sub-4-minute mile. Gutenberg’s press has not suppressed knowledge just because it decreases our dependence on memorization and oral transmission. And the computer, which would have reduced the amount of time we need to work, instead increases the amount of work we expect from our time.

One reason technology will never eliminate humanity’s uniqueness is that, borrowing Solomon’s phrase, God has put eternity in our hearts—not simply meaning we have souls (which is true nonetheless), but that no matter what horizon we attain with an iteration of tech, we immediately begin stretching for the next. On this side of eternity, a la Robert Browning, our reach will always exceed our grasp.

The other reason technology is no threat to our significance is that load-lifting and list-learning are not our unique purpose in creation. When we would offer a sacrifice, God requires mercy. Where we would know facts, God reveals himself (Hosea 6:6). And where we would solve and accomplish, he demands love. Our uniqueness is in the people whose paths God makes ours intersect, those he gives us to love and serve—not the technology that can both help us understand them and distract us from them.

This week, may digits and duties only line our way to the people God sends us to serve.