1. There are plenty of academics concerned about the moral implications of what I am calling Apocalyptic AI, however, including Bailey (2005), DeLashmutt (2006), Dery (1996), Hayles (2005), Herzfeld (2002 b), Joy (2000), Keiper (2006), Noble (1999), Rubin (2003), Sherwin (2004), and Wertheim (1999). Other authors address the significance of cognitive and computer sciences for theology, including Foerst (1998; 2004), G. R. Peterson (2004), and me (2007b).
2. Gerardus van der Leeuw brought Edmund Husserl’s concept of epoche to the history of religions and it is one that should not be abandoned. The practice of epoche requires that we relinquish our presumption that we know what is true and what is not. In the study of foreign religions, this means assuming that the religious beliefs and practices of the object of one’s study could be correct and efficacious. Rather than seeking to find “truth” or “falsity” in these beliefs and practices, one is better advised to seek out how they affect life “on the ground.” Epoche applies equally to the promises made in pop science books. While it is not particularly valuable to either assent to or deny the futuristic promises of pop science books, as robotic and AI technology becomes increasingly prevalent in society, we would be well advised to sort out how those promises function within our culture, regardless of whether or not we accept them.
3. A Second Life and SL are trademarks of Linden Research, Inc.
4. Through the Temple, I solicited charitable donations, which I passed along to the real-life charities Heifer International and Abraham’s Vision. The charitable part of the Virtual Temple does not play a role in this book; it was merely my effort to turn virtual reality into a productive part of society, which I measure in terms of advocating peace, protecting the environment, and feeding the hungry (due to limitations on my time, the Virtual Temple closed its virtual doors during the summer of 2007).
5. By public policy, I refer to more than just government policies. I have a broad notion of policy in mind, one that includes government action but also includes the way in which the public receives and thinks about technological progress.
6. Since there are literally hundreds of articles and books attempting to reconcile science and religion, I have offered only a few examples in which such efforts are described (Gilbert 1997) or advocated by major figures (Barbour, Townes, and Clayton)