new religions obsessed with artificial intelligence
this goes way beyond activists demanding civil rights for robots: religions view A.I.s as deities
Brandon Withrow has a piece up at The Daily Beast titled “The New Religions Obsessed with A.I.,” in which he explores how faith is grappling with our new digital age, and emerging technology.
The entire article is fascinating, start to finish. But what really got me thinking is the idea that some people will (or are?) view artificial intelligence as deities.
It’s an odd concept to me, simply because a.i. is our own creations. Why would we elevate it to the status of god? That seems odd to me. I definitely take the view that (quoting from the article) “the creation can never be greater than the creator.”
On the other hand, people worshiping something of our own making wouldn’t surprise me either.
From the article:
“One thing that I think is interesting is the potential for an AI—our creation—to transcend us,” says James F. McGrath, the Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University and author of Theology and Science Fiction.
“The potential for AIs to transcend us and thus become our teachers to whom we look for answers to questions we cannot answer, including about God, is not hard to imagine,” says McGrath. But, he adds, “the historic answer in monotheistic religions is that the creation can never be greater than the creator.”
He notes, however, for Gnostics, humans can transcend the “creator/demiurge,” though “even then,” he says, “we have the potential to reunite with that source from which we stem. It is not surprising that Gnostic themes regularly surface in science fiction, and in particular those that explore AI.”
From there, the article goes into tranhumanists, and related groups who “look to technology as a source for eternal life.”
Interesting stuff, both fascinating and a little eerie.
The New Religions Obsessed with A.I. –The Daily Beast