God and the Robots

I am writing a non-fiction book called God and the Robots. Here’s a first look at my early book proposal.  ——————————————– In the summer of 2015, two stories were on the front page of the New York Times. The stories did not appear to be related. The first was an announcement that a group of technical luminaries – including Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking – had signed a statement calling for governments to outlaw the building of autonomous killing weapons, or so-called “Terminator” machines.[1] The other was a story about a well-meaning robot called “hitchBot” being destroyed by vandals while hitchhiking across the United States.[2] The first story was about how...

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Post-Humanity and Terminator

I’ve had some fun recently watching and reading about the Terminator series. It’s not a bad attempt to bring a large SF franchise into the more constrained world of TV, and there’sconsiderable fan momentum If you were creating an artificial lifeform from the ground-up, what kinds of elements would you use? First, in any kind of hostile environment, it would be wise to create an internal skeleton made of a matrix of some sort of highly flexible yet very strong metal. A network that would carry materials to re-build and upgrade internal systems — the best way of communicating would be through a chemical/electrical metallic soup of individually independent systems — little nano-like magnetized iron particles, each of which would contain...

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Recent Research: Symbolic Machines

The assumption that ‘raw’ matter such as silicon, metals, and ceramics can be organized in such a manner that they can give rise to a mental state that we can recognize as consciousness, is a fundamental underpinning of the effort to create artificial intelligence. As philosopher of mind Nick Bostrom points out: Substrate-independence is a common assumption in the philosophy of mind. The idea is that mental states can supervene on any of a broad class of physical substrates. Provided a system implements the right sort of computational structures and processes, it can be associated with conscious experiences. It is not an essential property of consciousness that it is implemented on carbon-based biological neural networks inside a cranium; silicon-based processors...

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A Cyborg Eschatology: A.N. Whitehead and Post-Humanism (COMPLETE)

Cyborg Eschatology: A Process Perspective on Post-Organic Embodiment i. Environment and Actuality In Western thought, one person’s ego is often considered primary: the individual “I” is the focus of many historical Western Christian conceptions of salvation and sin. In contrast, Eastern philosophy has often emphasized a “flux” of existences which co-exist in community. As Christian influence has waned in Western philosophy, contemporary cultural thinkers like Heidegger and Derrida have spoken out of a so-called post-modern and post-sacred ethos. Yet despite the “death of God” drama, within Heidegger’s Dasein or Derrida’s “speaking subject” the Western conception of the individual’s being in the world as a matter of ultimate focus has nearly always been retained....

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Cyborg Eschatology: Whitehead and the Posthuman (Part V)

vi. Evolution & Transcendence Whitehead does not write directly of the possibility of God’s relationship with beings that human beings substantially create, but he does write of the difference in God’s creative relationship with every actuality. From this discussion, Whitehead describes God’s operations within and upon the metaphysical universe as the ongoing act of “enabling finite beings themselves by their own activity to transcend themselves.” In fact, it seems clear that the spiritual soul may in fact, arise out of such divine operations. The material reality of our environment becomes another novel ingredient in God’s satisfaction relative to the creation of a new entity. The manner in which a cybernetic soul may connect with its own ultimate...

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Cyborg Eschatology: Whitehead and the Posthuman (Part IV)

iv. Machine Organization and Actualization The assumption that ‘raw’ matter such as silicon, metals, and ceramics can be organized in such a manner that they can give rise to a mental state that we can recognize as consciousness, is a fundamental underpinning of the effort to create artificial intelligence. As philosopher of mind Nick Bostrom points out: Substrate-independence is a common assumption in the philosophy of mind. The idea is that mental states can supervene on any of a broad class of physical substrates. Provided a system implements the right sort of computational structures and processes, it can be associated with conscious experiences. It is not an essential property of consciousness that it is implemented on carbon-based biological neural networks...

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