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Man Imitating God: AI and Our Yearning For Deity


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Art Imitating Life

Video from 0707pl

"Life itself is on the brink in the Blade Runner universe, so animals act as a kind of natural mirror for humanity and replicants alike. They connect us to nature, and with each extinction they feel more and more like harbingers of our own extinction. The horror of the biological desolation that humanity caused is only somewhat alleviated by the invention of synthetic animals called animinoids.

But do we already see animals as machines? Or do we see them as family?

If replicants and animinoids are not grown or cloned, are they constructed piece-by-piece? Why unicorn origami? Does that mean Rachel is a “unicorn” and Deckard needs to just go for it? Or does Gaff use animals to mess with someone he knows is an off-limits replicant that he’s required to help?

I’ve been thinking about this stuff since I first heard about that work-print “director’s cut” in the early 90s. That added a good deal to the discussion and rejuvenated the fandom for 1982’s Blade Runner, and we were all able to see an official Ridley Scott approved version in 1997 as one of the first DVDs ever printed.

There have been six versions of that film produced for audiences, (eight if you count studio and preview screenings), and we fans loved the slow perfecting of this sci-fi classic over the years. I doubt Blade Runner 2049 would have been made if everything hadn’t worked out so well...' from the article: Animals of Blade Runner

Why Artificial Intelligence Can Never be The Way, the Truth and the Life

"Silicon Valley has 'a vibrant religious culture, a more-or-less orthodox theology, and plenty of rites and institutions to keep its priestly caste employed and relevant', according to philosopher of religion Samuel Loncar. Reassuring, surely, given that the technology it produces shapes every sphere of our lives, from politics to health to news to our private relationships? That religious culture, however, is not centred around any deity familiar to one of the world religions, but around Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Anthony Levandowski, a multi-millionaire engineer based in Silicon Valley, has founded a religious organisation called Way of the Future, Wired reported last week. It aims to 'develop and promote the realisation of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence' and 'through understanding and worship of the Godhead, [to] contribute to the betterment of society'.

But does Levandowski's 'Godhead' have anything to do with the Christian God? And since on the face of it the answer is 'No', does it tell us anything about the modern religious impulse?..' from the article: Why Artificial Intelligence can never be the way, the truth and the life

The Vibrant Religious Life of Silicon Valley, and Why It’s Killing the Economy

"He even looks like a prophet.

Well, how a prophet might look like in the digital age. Jaron Lanier, technologist and computer scientist, cannot be mistaken for a small man in any sense. A polymath by conservative standards, he appears publicly in a large T-shirt and baggy pants. Dreadlocks older than the average adult in Silicon Valley complete a look that is appropriately idiosyncratic. He invented virtual reality (the idea and its first technological fruit); never finished college yet hung out with famous scientists at Caltech and MIT as a child; has numerous patents; and can be safely assumed to know more about math, science, and technology than anyone you know. He is also a philosopher (and a brilliant one at that), an accomplished musician known for his mastery of ancient and esoteric instruments from cultures few anthropologists have heard of, and a man of deep humanistic learning...' from the article: The Vibrant Religious Life of Silicon Valley, and Why It’s Killing the Economy


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