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

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

by Robert M. Geraci
 

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Apocalyptic AI, the hope that we might one day upload our minds into machines or cyberspace and live forever, is a surprisingly wide-spread and influential idea, affecting everything from the world view of online gamers to government research funding and philosophical thought. In Apocalyptic AI, Robert Geraci offers the first serious account of this

Overview

Apocalyptic AI, the hope that we might one day upload our minds into machines or cyberspace and live forever, is a surprisingly wide-spread and influential idea, affecting everything from the world view of online gamers to government research funding and philosophical thought. In Apocalyptic AI, Robert Geraci offers the first serious account of this "cyber-theology" and the people who promote it. Drawing on interviews with roboticists and AI researchers and with devotees of the online game Second Life, among others, Geraci illuminates the ideas of such advocates of Apocalyptic AI as Hans Moravec and Ray Kurzweil. He reveals that the rhetoric of Apocalyptic AI is strikingly similar to that of the apocalyptic traditions of Judaism and Christianity. In both systems, the believer is trapped in a dualistic universe and expects a resolution in which he or she will be translated to a transcendent new world and live forever in a glorified new body. Equally important, Geraci shows how this worldview shapes our culture. Apocalyptic AI has become a powerful force in modern culture. In this superb volume, he shines a light on this belief system, revealing what it is and how it is changing society.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Scholars interested in the intersection of popular science and religion will likely find Geraci's work helpful. Portions of the book, especially the chapter on virtual reality and video games, would also be appropriate for the undergraduate classroom."
—Journal of Religion and Popular Culture

"Robert Geraci's thoughtful examination of technology-based quests for transcendence offers a serious look at apocalyptic scenarios that, while remaining for now in the realm of science fiction, nonetheless claim significant cultural influence. I don't know when we will see robots with human-like intelligence, but our longing for them, and what that says about us, is what Geraci's book helps us understand."—David S. Touretzky, Research Professor of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199889419
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
03/05/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
1,133,110
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Robert M. Geraci is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Manhattan College. He is the Principal Investigator for a National Science Foundation EAGER grant studying meaningful and transcendent experiences in virtual worlds, and received a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Scholar grant to study the intersection of religion and artificial intelligence at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore (2012-2013).

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