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

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Oxford University Press, USA, Feb 5, 2010 - Social Science - 248 pages
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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 "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.

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About the author (2010)

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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