Thursday, July 19, 2012

Robot Religion

For Monday the 23rd:

McGrath, “Robots, Rights, and Religion” in Religion and Science Fiction
   In this thorough and provocative essay, McGrath analyzes depictions of robots in sci-fi and explores the philosophical implications of robot consciousness.  As you read, note your own reactions to McGrath's ideas.  Do you think that we will face these philosophical problems in our future?

Asimov, "Reason"
   This short story comes from Asimov's sci-fi classic, I, Robot.  What does robo-religion look like in this story?

The Flaming Lips, "One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21" 
   This is the second track from The Flaming Lips' Yoshimi Battles Pink Robots, and it tells the story of a robot gaining consciousness.  Listen to the song a few times, and take note of both the lyrics and the way that the music matches with 3000-21's "birth." 

RP3a due Monday
   Next week you have the option of writing a response paper for Monday on Robot Religion or for Tuesday on Apocalyptic AI.  Here's the prompt for Monday's readings:

Summarize, analyze, and evaluate two of McGrath's speculative treatments of android religion (Christianity, Buddhism, Atheism) in Part Two of his essay.  How does McGrath predict that each religion will relate to robotic practitioners? What are the strengths and weaknesses of his arguments?  Do you imagine that things will go differently?

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