Apocalyptic AI: Visions of Heaven in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality

By Robert M. Geraci | Go to book overview
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FIVE
THE INTEGRATION OF RELIGION,
SCIENCE, AND TECHNOLOGY

APOCALYPTIC AI is a modern religious movement that travels through several influential communities, including technical research, online gaming, and the philosophical, legal, and theological schools of thought in modern life. In fact, Apocalyptic AI sets the tone for important debates in these communities. If religion is, as David Chidester claims, the negotiation of what it means to be human with respect to the superhuman and the subhuman, then Apocalyptic AI is at least as much religious as it is scientific, which shows how closely religion and technology can be integrated. The movement is, therefore, crucial for the understanding of religion, science, and technology in modern life. Apocalyptic AI sets up values and practices designed to transport the human being from a state of ignorance, embodiment, and finitude to a state of knowledge, immateriality, and immortality. Those aspects of our lives that seem conducive to this final state are those which Apocalyptic AI valorizes and to which it assigns meaning. Rationality, scientific curiosity, the mind as informational pattern, the body as prosthesis—these, according to Apocalyptic AI, are the stuff that authentic human beings are made of; salvation lies in freeing them from the fetters of biology and uniting them with the intelligent robots of the future. In this concluding chapter, I wish to summarize the results of this study and clarify some of the significance of Apocalyptic AI for the study of religion. Apocalyptic AI, as a successful integration of religion, science, and technology, offers a challenge to the conventional approach in the study of religion and science.

Apocalyptic AI advocates hope to escape a fundamentally dualistic world in favor of a transcendent reality to come. For them, the world’s basic division into good/bad, virtual/physical, machine/biology can be overcome only by uploading our minds into cyberspace, where we will acquire immortality and unfettered power. The limits of human life will dissolve in the face of an overwhelming Mind

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