Technology as Religion

November 28, 2023 - November 29, 2023
Ahmanson Lab | Leavey Library, 3rd floor (LVL 301)

Technology as Religion Thumbnail
Technology as Religion Thumbnail

Technology presents paradigms that parallel religious concepts, offering alternative interpretations of age-old beliefs. Indeed, cutting-edge technologies enable even staunch materialists in places like Silicon Valley, (e.g. Ray Kurzweil) to embrace beliefs typically associated with metaphysics or religion. For instance, the notion of uploading one's consciousness to a computer resonates with the religious promise of eternal life, suggesting a digital transcendence beyond physical mortality. Similarly, the theory that we exist within a computer simulation mirrors religious beliefs of a realm or existence beyond our perceived reality, hinting at layers of creation we've yet to understand. Furthermore, as we edge closer to creating an Artificial Superintelligence, it can be perceived as a god-like entity, possessing knowledge and power far beyond human comprehension.

Topics of conversation might include: As Artificial Intelligence and other technologies become increasingly integrated into daily life, how might religious interpretations of the soul, consciousness, and existence evolve? Can technological developments truly replace or serve as alternatives to religious beliefs (can they for instance, give our lives meaning and purpose ), or do they simply offer another layer of interpretation for our existential questions? How might these interpretations differ across cultures and belief systems?