[sl4] Apocalyptic AI - book presentation and discussion in Second Life, Tuesday March 30, 10am PST

From: Giulio Prisco (2nd email) (eschatoon@gmail.com)
Date: Tue Mar 23 2010 - 13:08:50 MDT


Oxford University Press - Apocalyptic AI: Visions of Heaven in
Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality, by Robert M.

See my review of this excellent book. Robert has done a lot of field
reconnaissance work behind transhumanist lines in Second Life. The
book has a full report of Robert's field work and his interpretation
of the spirit of transhumanism, and the spirit of virtual worlds. This
book has started many interesting (and often vigorous) discussions in
both transhumanist and Second Life interest groups.

Robert will come to Second Life for a book presentation and discussion
on Tuesday March 30, at 10am PST. The talk will take place in the
Singularity Club (which can be seen in the background of the picture)
on the Transvision Nexus island. Please follow this SLURL to teleport,
and bring interesting questions.

New World Notes - Oxford Press Book on Digital Age Spirituality Argues
Second Life Provides Platform For Innovative Religious Thinking: The
ultra-prestigious Oxford University just published a book devoted to
theology in the digital age: Apocalyptic AI Visions of Heaven in
Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality. It's written
by Manhattan College professor Robert Geraci, known in Second Life as
Soren Ferlinghetti (pictured), and unsurprisingly, a whole chapter is
devoted to Second Life, and conversations with several well-known
Extropians (sometimes called transhumanists), who often see Second
Life as a means for transcending the human body.

>From the publishers' site: "Description: Apocalyptic AI, the hope that
we might one day upload our minds into machines or cyberspace and live
forever, is a surprisingly wide-spread and influential idea, affecting
everything from the world view of online gamers to government research
funding and philosophical thought. In Apocalyptic AI, Robert Geraci
offers the first serious account of this "cyber-theology" and the
people who promote it.

Drawing on interviews with roboticists and AI researchers and with
devotees of the online game Second Life, among others, Geraci
illuminates the ideas of such advocates of Apocalyptic AI as Hans
Moravec and Ray Kurzweil. He reveals that the rhetoric of Apocalyptic
AI is strikingly similar to that of the apocalyptic traditions of
Judaism and Christianity. In both systems, the believer is trapped in
a dualistic universe and expects a resolution in which he or she will
be translated to a transcendent new world and live forever in a
glorified new body. Equally important, Geraci shows how this worldview
shapes our culture. For instance, Apocalyptic AI has influenced
funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation, helping to
prioritize robotics and AI research. It has become the ideology of
choice for online gamers, such as those involved in Second Life; it
has had a profound impact on the study of the mind; and it has
inspired scientists and theologians alike to wonder about the super
robots of the future. Should we think of robots as persons? What kind
of morality would intelligent robots espouse?

Apocalyptic AI has become a powerful force in modern culture. In this
superb volume, Robert Geraci shines a light on this belief system,
revealing what it is and how it is changing society."

Giulio Prisco
aka Eschatoon Magic

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