I think the question on the piety picks is whether they offer a sufficient long-term gain to be worth the lack of short-term benefits, and not whether the AI is wasting its time. If the AI is wasting its time, then so, likely, would we. The purchase pick offers a solid long-term benefit (if you have a religious building or warriors or a religion to spread). We can push it back to a point where it is closer to the actual benefit (requiring another policy perhaps first?), but it is otherwise fine structurally. The tolerance pick does not as it is unpredictable, possibly useless, and often irrelevant. This is a bad design as it is inherently long-term but offers a very limited benefit. Theocracy is probably somewhere in between, where it offers no immediate benefit (often), but will offer a benefit soon. The question there is whether the benefit is strong enough.