When Marquis Boone got a Dropbox file with the gospel song “Biblical Love” by J. C., he listened to it five times in a row.

This is crazy, he said to himself.

What amazed him was not the song, but the artist. The person singing “Biblical Love” was not a person at all.

J. C. is an artificial intelligence (AI) that Boone and his team created with computer algorithms. Boone’s company Marquis Boone Enterprises broke the news in November that, after working on the problem for more than a year, they had successfully created the first virtual, AI gospel artist.

The exact details of how the AI music is created is proprietary information, but Boone said the basic premise is to use software algorithms to recognize patterns, replicate them, and ultimately create new ones.

J. C., he and his team have boasted, will be a front-runner for top entertainer in the metaverse—a hypothesized future online experience where virtual reality and augmented reality are used to create an “embodied internet.” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg touted the idea that “the metaverse is the next chapter” of social media last fall, when he announced his company was changing its name to Meta.

Boone said his interest in creating a Christian AI musician began about two years before, when he started hearing about AI artists in the pop music genre.

“I really just started thinking this is where the world is going and I’m pretty sure that the gospel/Christian genre is going to be behind,” Boone told CT.

Christians, he said, are too slow to adopt new styles, new technologies, and new forms of entertainment—always looking like late imitators. For him, it would be an evangelistic ...

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