Artificial Intelligence: Can Robots Be Religious?

There are over 4,000 organized religions in the world and the belief in a higher being is a concept that is seemingly exclusive to humans. With artificial intelligence (read: robots) becoming gradually more mainstream, it is fair to wonder if robots can ever be religious.

According to Lincoln Canon, the president of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, religion and robots are not mutually exclusive. In fact, in an interview with the, Canon explained that the lack of “laws” in computer science can make religious robots a reality.

“Of course there are some naive voices among the anti-religious that would like to imagine a technical incompatibility between machine intelligence and religious beliefs,” said Canon. “Religion already isn’t benign, and any religion worthy of a superintelligence certainly would be even less so.”

The idea that scientists can create religious robots theoretically makes sense, but it is important to note that it is different than faith. A robot would not intrinsically be religious and would have to be programmed to believe a certain set of rules. This would be no different than programming a robot to believe that Coke is better than Pepsi or vice versa — it will believe it but without merit.

That’s not to say scientists and programmers won’t try to see how technology and religion can merge.

“What humans have is a more complex and larger brain than any other animal – maybe a whale’s brain is physically large, but it’s not structurally more complex than ours,” said MIT professor Marvin Minksy to the Jerusalem Post. “If you left a computer by itself, or a community of them together, they would try to figure out where they came from and what they are.”

Whether or not robots can really believe in a higher being is an argument that ultimately comes to technicalities, jargon, and your philosophical definition of faith.

Source: Artificial Intelligence: Can Robots Be Religious?

Via: Google Alerts for AI

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