Religious Robots

  • Paul J. Nahin
Part of the Science and Fiction book series (SCIFICT)


To speak of a religious robot might seem to be maximum silliness at the least, and downright blasphemous at the most, and so let me start this chapter with a little history before we get into the theological SF. In 1936 the English mathematician Alan Turing (1912–1954) started what is today called ‘computer science.’ He didn’t actually call it that—the very first electronic digital computer was still almost a decade in the future—but Turing was a genius and he nevertheless quickly realized that a possible goal for the theoretical framework he had created was the eventual construction of an artificial (non-human) intelligence (AI). That is, the creation of an intelligent robotic brain. Turing’s AI work was parallel in time with the famous contributions of the MIT mathematician Norbert Wiener (1894–1964): Wiener’s 1948 book Cybernetics, and then the 1950 book The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics and Society in which he warned of the possible misuses of automata. Years later, in 1964, came his short work God and Golem, Inc., in which he commented “on certain points where cybernetics impinges on religion.” But it was Turing, not Wiener, who directly and enthusiastically embraced the concept of a thinking machine.


Intelligent Robot Energy Converter Human Soul Turing Test Imitation Game 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul J. Nahin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Electrical & Computer EngineeringUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA

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