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Cognitive Computing and the Church…What is Truth?

Cognitive computing will forever change the church by responding instantly to the question:  What is truth? In a world fragmented by religious dogma and politics, a fresh look at the ‘truth’ will perhaps set us free, yes? If you have not taken the time to read “Big Data @ Church – Calculating the Will of God” it can be purchased on this site. Important to note is the basic PREMISE of this blog within the next three sentences.

Big Data technology  within a spiritual community ‘makes sense’ of our cognitive diverse thoughts and forms a theospheric neurological network of wisdom. The Theosphere is the natural exchange and integration of spiritual thought in response to a message or lesson by its listeners. This communication dynamic between a leader and his/her audience forms a sphere of thought which is aggregated within context then made available to decision makers. Some benefits of incorporating big data technology within a spiritual community are :

For a spiritual leader– learn how to:

  1. Make informed decisions by knowing the condition of the flock
  2. Create laser accurate lessons week after week
  3. Inspire member participation and reduce attrition rate
  4. Captivate new visitors and have them aching to return
  5. Increase contribution and trigger organic growth after just weeks

For a participating member:

  1. What you think and feel matters!
  2. Provided a safe platform to give feedback in response to sermons and lessons.
  3. Attract involvement with like-minded people and join relevant activities
  4. Be confident and eager to share your experience with others
  5. Make informed decisions regarding the value of your financial gifts



The TRUTH Behind the Technology

The technological time-line and principles described at IBM’s ‘IMPACT 2014′ conference by Mike Rhodin,  are vitally relevant to the ‘business’ of spiritual communities on a local, regional and global scale. Incorporating big data technology leveraging IBMs ‘Watson’ creates a new communication dynamic between spiritual leaders and their flocks never quantified before. Unveiling this technology within a spiritual community can create an enormous impact on commerce and global peace.

First, taking care of business. Is this new ‘cognitive computing’ technology justified financially ? It’s an important question.

1- In the U.S. alone, spiritual communities spend an estimated $80 billion dollars in annual giving to churches per year’ according to Outreach Media Group [OMG]

2- Christian consumers are one of the “largest, most faithful, highest spending market segments in the United States” (Faith-Based Marketing: The Guide to Reaching 140 Million Christian Consumers). [OMG]

3-   Churches by their very nature are growth-oriented, and growth-oriented organizations need resources. Leaders will spend thousands of dollars annually learning how to grow and maintain their memberships. [OMG] Utilizing big data technology within a spiritual context drastically improves decision making, reduces operational cost, and reveals hidden resources with predictability power.

Why is this relevant? Church leaders have great influence over the decisions and buying behavior of the people in their churches because they are a trusted resource.  When people with passion and purpose incorporate IBMs Watson within their fellowship, the business community can flourish exponentially. Spending has deeper significance than merely what the amounts reveal.

The Technology Time-line 

I designed the graph below based on information presented by  Mike Rhodin of IBM at ‘IMPACT 2014′





General Explanation of Technological Development

  • Tabulating Systems Era of the mid 1800s to the 1900s –mechanical tally systems that counted things. ‘Electro computing devises’– 1’s and ‘0’ s — bean counters.
  • Programmable Systems Era began around the 1950s. The world of electronic computing began to soar, the main frame developed [1960s] and ever since engineers have been in the business of miniaturization of those components. Later on in the  late 90s , PCs, I-Pods, I-pads, all mobile devises, Programs and Apps
  • Cognitive Era – from 2011- IBMs ‘Watson’ Jeopardy Experiment,  present –> beyond. It thinks, reasons deducts, within context and responds  based on the best probable answer to a question. Deeper than a search, ‘IT’ thinks and decides based on ‘confidence’ level after scanning millions of relevant documents and streaming information. This new era makes decisions based on streaming intel versus an APP or a static programmed response.


How does the Church Compare to the Technological Development Chart ?

  • Tabulating Systems Era’ – Most church technology software functions as information “tracking” for such categories as attendance, members, visitors, contribution, registrations, discipleship goals, and more. Think of tracking in terms of hunting. After an animal has already passed the hunter searches for “tracks” to follow. The greatest Spiritual leaders did not track their followers but captured the multitudes because of a resonating message of hope and inspiration. Tracking information in ministry is a good ‘first-step’ but would this would be the equivalent to the ‘Tabulating Systems Era’ of the mid 1800s and early 1900s when the best technology of the time was ‘bean counting’. Time to update.
  • Programmable Systems Era’ . The internet, PCs and all mobile devises have given the church a major jolt as far as its search capabilities. Its impact can be compared to the historical impact and invention of the printing press  There is an endless amount of  available resources, tools, apps, programs, and archived documents that no one individual could read, research, watch, listen or download in 100 lifetimes. Even though numerous books on discipleship models and structures have been written by ‘experts’, the church still faces repeated growth struggles with only a few exceptions. [see blog “Church Evolve  OR Dissolve”]. Programs and static structures last only a short time and contribute to the overall shrinking of the American churches for the last forty [40] years.   Even though endless resources are available, connecting all the semi-structured and unstructured data without context is a daunting task when searching for  a quick solution. Time to update.
  • ‘Cognitive Era’ -Big data collaborative church technology can connect people with wisdom at a level that is unprecedented in our churches and spiritual communities. It is the best platform to collect, synchronize, and pool the wisdom of God that dwells in the heart and mind of each participant. The kingdom within can now connect to a theospheric world without: without bias, restraint or fear, leading society towards peace.

 E-book REVIEWS on What Others Think

  • Very thought provoking, especially for someone who grew up in a traditional, fundamentalist church where new or independent thinking not encouraged. Utilizing technology for the betterment of a congregation makes a lot of sense. I agree we should embrace, not fear, technology. [Sweet p ]
  •  Very unique take on the relationship between Science and God. Well written and thought provoking. Whichever side of the discussion you find yourself on, this book will open a new path of possibilities to be explored. [Neal]
  • Enjoyed the read; It’s a very cool concept! To be able to unite so many people from all over is in itself an amazing opportunity, but to be able to get feed back so quickly is the world changing aspect! [Quin]
  • Enjoyed very much. I think the concept of a very real feedback is amazing. [WF]
  • Church leaders (and others) take note. Keep up with changing technology or lose touch and be left in the dust. Read, study, and learn. Mike Sanicola lays it out neatly for us all here. [Christine]

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