We have all been talking about AI of late and I have been on a bit of a reading deep dive about it. I am thrilled to have my friend Kester Brewin back on the podcast to talk about Artificial Intelligence & the future of religion. His new book, God-like: A 500-Year History of Artificial Intelligence in Myths, Machines, Monsters is out and 100% zesty. It is way too good for y’all not to check it out. It is not only a powerful telling of humanity’s ongoing relationship with technology and a reflection on the current questions surrounding AI, but it is also the most compelling radical theological text I have read. It demonstrates the symbolic starvation of a marketized public square, the wisdom of what has been harbored in religious reflection, and the need for the return of theology beyond religion. It is also practical theology at its best. It ends with a compelling call to community without an addiction to nostalgia or an allergy to the sacred. I would say more, but you can listen to our conversation.

In the year 1600 a monk is burned at the stake for claiming to have built a device that will allow him to know all things.

350 years later, having witnessed ‘Trinity’ – the first test of the atomic bomb – America’s leading scientist outlines a memory machine that will help end war on earth.

25 years in the making, an ex-soldier finally unveils this ‘machine for augmenting human intellect’, dazzling as he stands ‘Zeus-like, dealing lightning with both hands.’

AI is both stunningly new and rooted in ancient desires. As we finally welcome this ‘god-like’ technology amongst us, what can learn from the myths and monsters of the past about how to survive alongside our greatest ever invention?

 

Previous Episodes with Kester

Join us at Theology Beer Camp October 17-19, 2024!

 

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