Robots and the Sacred in Science and Science Fiction: Theological Implications of Artificial Intelligence.

Item request has been placed! ×
Item request cannot be made. ×
loading   Processing Request
  • Author(s): Geraci, Robert M.
  • Source:
    Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science. Dec2007, Vol. 42 Issue 4, p961-980. 20p.
  • Additional Information
    • Subject Terms:
    • Abstract:
      In science-fiction literature and film, human beings simultaneously feel fear and allure in the presence of intelligent machines, an experience that approximates the numinous experience as described in 1917 by Rudolph Otto. Otto believed that two chief elements characterize the numinous experience: the mysterium tremendum and the fascinans. Briefly, the mysterium tremendum is the fear of God's wholly other nature and the fascinans is the allure of God's saving grace. Science-fiction representations of robots and artificially intelligent computers follow this logic of threatening otherness and soteriological promise. Science fiction offers empirical support for Anne Foerst's claim that human beings experience fear and fascination in the presence of advanced robots from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AI Lab. The human reaction to intelligent machines shows that human beings in many respects have elevated those machines to divine status. This machine apotheosis, an interesting cultural event for the history of religions, may—despite Foerst's rosy interpretation—threaten traditional Christian theologies. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
      Copyright of Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science is the property of Wiley-Blackwell and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)