Considering Religious Robots

Kari Love

While the automation of religion may sound like science fiction, the foundation of this course is examples of physical religious robots already built and spanning most major religions. Their existence raises complex questions about spiritual assistive devices, religious jobs as work, technology as “miracles,” idolatry, transhumanism, sacrilegious robots vs secular robots, the role of rites for robots, and whether a robot can be a member of a religion. Religious robots confront us with the boundaries of personhood, and can provide insights of what that means for technology, spirituality, and society. The course will combine reading, writing, discussion, research and speculative design.