God In the Machine: What Robots Teach Us About Humanity and God

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9780525947660: God In the Machine: What Robots Teach Us About Humanity and God
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A thought-provoking analysis of the theological implications of artificial intelligence addresses important--and controversial--questions raised by robotics about the definition of humanity, what it means to have a soul, and what robots can teach us about our relationship with God. 17,500 first printing.

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About the Author:

Dr. Anne Foerst is a former research scientist at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT, where she also founded and directed the God and Computers Project. The only robotics theologian in the country, her work has captured much media attention, including coverage in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and Science. She is currently a visiting professor of theology and computer science at St. Bonaventure University.

From Publishers Weekly:

Foerst, a theologian associated with MIT's artificial intelligence lab in the 1990s, writes not so much about robotics or AI as about what it means to be a person, in technological and theological perspective. As a German theologian transplanted into an unlikely environment, Foerst was received with both hospitality and skepticism by MIT colleagues. But the robots, rather than the roboticists, are the stars—especially Cog, a model of hand-eye coordination and learning, and Kismet, an example of emotional mirroring through voice and facial expression. Foerst effectively narrates the delight—and at times, confusion—she feels from her robotic encounters, although some readers will wish for more concrete descriptions of the science and technology involved. Foerst's thoughts on AI and theology can be grouped into two main themes: the importance of embodiedness and the flexibility of personhood. The first theme is developed quite effectively, integrating insights from the Bible with the idea of AI in the 1990s: making progress by modeling embodied systems—even simple ones—instead of abstract computational tasks. The second theme, relying heavily on Paul Tillich's concepts of sin and justification, and focusing on audience perceptions of Cog and Kismet, is generally less persuasive. Overall, Foerst relates an inherently interesting story, supplemented by parallels in Judeo-Christian traditions, but hampered at times by academic jargon.
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9780452286955: God in the Machine: What Robots Teach Us About Humanity and God

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ISBN 10:  0452286956 ISBN 13:  9780452286955
Publisher: Plume, 2005
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