Presumably, a seminary would like a mechanism like Gus because it is programmed to answer questions which they cannot from a theologically sound perspective. However, St. Augustine was, in life, human. Though he was a man of extraordinary intelligence, he was not governed by purely logical beliefs. He made mistakes but his rational decisions also had human emotion behind them, I imagine. This is because he was sentient, which Wikipedia defines as “the ability to feel or perceive subjectively.”
We, as people, would probably be subjective even if we never knew our parents. There are certain foods we dislike, for example, no matter what we grow up eating. A computer (or any machine, I think) only gains subjectivity from being programmed in that way, and therefore I think it is not sentient. As the programmer Holtz says, “It’s programmed from Augustine’s work. And what we know about his life” (6-7). In other words, the computer is programmed subjectively based on scholarly guesses about the person of Augustine based on some evidence in his work and, presumably, writings about him. However, that means that Gus is programmed according to someone else’s subjectivity. He has no original subjectivity of his own. This reliance upon another being to attain a personality seems to me to make Gus only a shadow of another person’s opinions.
I think, in some ways (but not all) that Gus's insights on dogma are less valuable than the original saint's because he abides by the hard-and-fast rules of his programming. Saints are venerated on Earth because they lived virtuous lives, which we recognize as being a difficult thing to do. If a computer is programmed to be virtuous naturally, then where is the struggle in that? Where is the depth of experience of suffering? Where is the wisdom in a computer? But on the other hand, I imagine a machine like Gus might be useful with which to have an argument to understand one's self better.
But then again, this might only seem that way to me because I have not yet encountered a technology which stretches my theory of sentience.