Religious Robots

Quotes from Robert Geraci, Apocalyptic AI: Visions of Heaven in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality

p. 133 “Ray Kurzweil believes that intelligent machines will be more spiritual than human being and believes that the future will include real and virtual houses of worship where intelligent machines will congregate (Kurzweil 1999, 153). Naturally, since all human mental phenomena are, from Kurzweil’s point of view, computational processes, religious experiences must be as well.

p. 133-134 “Some human being, however, might welcome robots into their religious communities and some robots might wish to join them. Fundamentally, if robots become conscious and, thereafter, acquire ‘beliefs’, a state that involves intentionality and meaning, then some of those beliefs will surely be religious. Both theologians and computer scientists have supported such a view, including Anne Foerst, David Levy, and Edmund Furse.”

p. 134 “The artificial intelligence researcher David Levy has argued that robots will join in religious practices as a necessary by-product of their emotional range and conscious beliefs.”

p. 134 “Without doubt, the interest that computer scientists have in the religious life of robots is fascinating but the fact that theologians have engaged robotics is considerably more so.”


22.03.2013 16:26

The goal of the book of Robert Geraci is different. He is after all a professor of religious studies. His goal were rather to compare typical Christian ideas of Apocalypse with the ideas that one can find in the AI community. The book as such is academic in nature and as a result a bit boring. Yet, he is convincing and the book seems justify what he writes in the introduction:

p. 7 “Apocaliptic AI is a powerful reconciliation of religion and science. The sacred categories of Jewish and Christian apocalyptic traditions have thoroughly penetrated the futuristic musings of important researches in robotics and artificial intelligence. Those categories have serious effects in robotics research, virtual reality/online gaming, and contemporary disputes over the nature of consciousness and personhood, public policy, and theology.”

The author seemingly enjoys it. The book could though be a warning for atheists who fight with Church and forget to check what one can find among AI studies.


A CONVERSATION WITH ANNE FOERST; Do Androids Dream? M.I.T. Working on It

Dr. Anne Foerst:

Robert M. Geraci:

Paid Papers

Anne Foerst, Cog, a Humanoid Robot, and the Question of the Image of God

Edmund Furse, The Theology of Robots