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Robotics Idle

Apocalypse NAO: College Studies the Theological Ramifications of Robotics 176

Posted by samzenpus
from the why-did-you-program-me-to-sin? dept.
malachiorion writes "Have you heard the one about the Christian college in North Carolina that bought a humanoid robot, to figure out whether or not bots are going to charm us into damnation (dimming or cutting our spiritual connection to God)? The robot itself is pretty boring, but the reasoning behind its purchase—a religious twist on the standard robo-phobia—is fascinating. From the article: '“When the time comes for including or incorporating humanoid robots into society, the prospect of a knee-jerk kind of reaction from the religious community is fairly likely, unless there’s some dialogue that starts happening, and we start examining the issue more closely,” says Kevin Staley, an associate professor of theology at SES. Staley pushed for the purchase of the bot, and plans to use it for courses at the college, as well as in presentations around the country. The specific reaction Staley is worried about is a more extreme version of the standard, secular creep factor associated with many robots. “From a religious perspective, it could be more along the lines of seeing human beings as made in God’s image,” says Staley. “And now that we’re relating to a humanoid robot, possibly perceiving it as evil, because of its attempt to mimic something that ought not to be mimicked.”'"
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Apocalypse NAO: College Studies the Theological Ramifications of Robotics

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  • by kruach aum (1934852) on Monday February 24, 2014 @04:23PM (#46326707)

    Theology is not a science. Science involves experiments, and not of the 'thought' variety: empirically testable hypotheses.

    Also, while there are indeed non-religious people who believe irrational and arbitrary things, religious people are grouped together on the basis of their irrational and arbitrary beliefs. It's the difference between a sack of 'things that were at one point in time attached to something made of iron' and a sack of magnets; having been attached to iron doesn't really tell you anything else about what kind of thing it is, but being a magnet does.

  • Re:Robots (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tuidjy (321055) on Monday February 24, 2014 @04:33PM (#46326825)

    > The word robot means slave in Czech

    Not quite. It's derived from the word "robota", which means labor due to a feudal lord, and is colloquially used to describe unpleasant work you do unhappily.

    A closer match than slave would be serf. The word 'rob' is slave in many Slavic languages, but not in Czech. Funnily enough, in every other Slavic language I know, robota/rabota mean just work, with no negative connotations.

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