February 19, 2024
SF Gate

An Optimistic Conversation with AI.


When your mind and heart are truly open abundance will flow to you effortlessly and easily.

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.


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.

On the hero’s journey:

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” This highlights the importance of self-discovery and living authentically.

“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again.” This emphasizes the need for introspection and connecting with your inner self to find your true purpose.

“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” This encourages openness and flexibility, acknowledging that our true path may not be what we initially envisioned.

On finding meaning in life:

“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.” This speaks to finding harmony and purpose by aligning with a larger force than oneself.

“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.” This emphasizes the individual nature of the journey and the importance of taking risks and forging your own way.

One would be hard-pressed to find more genuine wisdom in the most ancient Eastern traditions. The fact that AI can summarize time-honored spiritual ideas, as voiced by someone both modern and Western, is inspiring. But I’ve been in a dialogue with AI on cosmic riddles like the origins of the Big Bang, on the possibility that consciousness is woven into the fabric of creation, on the quantum nature of the human brain, and much more.

This is just a hint at why I am so optimistic and want to urge others not to adopt second-hand the mood of gloom and doom that AI is saddled with. As with any technology, AI’s good and bad sides depend on the consciousness of whoever is using or abusing it. I don’t know what the eventual outcome will be, but certainly as much good as bad will emerge. That has already happened with social media, even though its abuses may dominate the headlines while the advantages to billions of people are taken for granted. I can only view AI from the position it occupies in my life, which has been wholly positive. I know I am not alone.

DEEPAK CHOPRA MD, FACP, FRCP, founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra Global, a whole health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation.  Chopra is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego, and serves as a senior scientist with Gallup Organization. He is the author of over 90 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. Chopra has been at the forefront of the meditation revolution for the last thirty years. He is author of the forthcoming book, Digital Dharma: How to Use AI to Raise Your Spiritual Intelligence and Personal Well-Being. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.”  www.deepakchopra.com

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