Jottings on science, religion, technology, pop culture and faith from the Antipodes.

AI/Robotics, Science, Technology & Religion

Religion and the Robot

Just finished re-reading this paper as I tidy some things up.

Rosenfeld, Azriel. “Religion and the Robot: Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Religious Anthropologies.” Tradition: A Journal of Orthodox Thought 8 (1966): 15-26.

It’s forty years old, written when AI hype was greater than today, but it still raises some good questions. For example, “What is a ‘human being’ for the purposes of religion?”

  • How does the replacement of human body parts with prostheses (or the loss of body parts) affect religion’s perception of a person? Is all you need an intact brain?
  • Would human clones be recognised?
  • How would xenotransplantation and transgenic manipulation pose problems?
  • If intelligence might be seen as defining ‘human beings’ then if other creatures can demonstrate intelligence then might not they also be considered persons?

Rosenfeld approaches the topic looking for halakhic precedents, including reflection on material written about golems, which makes interesting reading.

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