Sunday, April 11, 2010

interivew on sci-fi and religion @ TheoFantastique

i was recently invited to interview with TheoFantastique about a paper that i wrote a few years ago about science fiction and religion. the interview is available here.

i'm very interested in using sci-fi as a window for cultural analysis, as is apparent from the way i've used it in the past (in the essay cited, "Robots and the Sacred in Science and Science Fiction," which can be found here), in my book Apocalyptic AI, and also in a recent paper i presented at the American Academy of Religion (link here), which i've recently submitted as a full paper for peer review.

one of the things i love about sci-fi is the way it reveals (in many ways) the religious ways we approach technology. sometimes we respond to machines as though they are sacred, sometimes we promote certain religious perspectives (such as transhumanism), sometimes we reject or accept institutional religions, etc. science fiction is a gold mine for thinking about our cultural response to the modern world.


  1. I loved "The ways in which sci-fi provides religious incentives.... When I was a kid, reading Clarke's passage quoted here:
    was a very powerful religious incentive.

  2. Hi Robert, thank you for sharing your interview, research work, and thoughts on how Science fiction sheds light on A.I. in relation to religion, secularism, etc. May I ask you a question? ...regarding the theory that the way we will address intelligent beings ( in this case, Cog) is akin to the numinous . Could you (if you have the time) elaborate briefly on the implication that this has for a relational view of the image of God. From what I understood - in the context of Foerst's relational concept of the image of God & man - it does not hold that we build the robots as 'man' (as God has created us) to simply co exist and share in our creation. Rather our reaction show that we build the beings to be divine; hence "we are to God as we are to A.I." I don't believe I fully understand and think I may have misinterpreted this. I would appreciate it if you could illuminate on this.

    Thanks in advance.