Showing posts with label Nonhuman Rights and Personhood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nonhuman Rights and Personhood. Show all posts

AI - Spiritual Robots.


In April 2000, Indiana University cognitive scientist Douglas Hofstadter arranged a symposium called "Will Spiritual Robots Replace Humanity by 2100?" at Stanford University.

Frank Drake, astronomer and SETI director, John Holland, creator of genetic algorithms, Bill Joy of Sun Microsystems, computer scientist John Koza, futurist Ray Kurzweil, public key cryptography architect Ralph Merkle, and roboticist Hans Moravec were among the panelists.

Several of the panelists gave their thoughts on the conference's theme based on their own writings.

  • Kurzweil's optimistic futurist account of artificial intelligence, The Age of Spiritual Machines, had just been published (1999).
  • In Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind, Moravec presented a positive picture of machine superintelligence (1999).
  • Bill Joy had just written a story for Wired magazine called "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us" on the triple technological danger posed by robots, genetic engineering, and nanotechnology (2000).
  • Only Hofstadter believed that Moore's Law doublings of transistors on integrated circuits may lead to spiritual robots as a consequence of the tremendous increase in artificial intelligence technologies.

Is it possible for robots to have souls? 

Can they exercise free will and separate themselves from humanity? 

What does it mean to have a soul for an artificial intelligence? 

Questions like these have been asked since the days of golems, Pinocchio, and the Tin Man, but they are becoming more prevalent in modern writing on religion, artificial intelligence, and the Technological Singularity.

Japan's robotics leadership started with puppetry.

Takemoto Giday and playwright Chikamatsu Monzaemon founded the Takemoto-za in Osaka's Dotonbori district in 1684 to perform bunraku, a theatrical extravaganza involving one-half life-size wooden puppets dressed in elaborate costumes, each controlled by three black-clad onstage performers: a principal puppeteer and two assistants.

Bunraku exemplifies Japan's long-standing fascination in bringing inanimate items to life.

Japan is a world leader in robotics and artificial intelligence today, thanks to a grueling postwar rebuilding effort known as gijutsu rikkoku (nation building via technology).

Television was one of the first technologies to be widely used under technonationalism.

The Japanese government hoped that print and electronic media would encourage people to dream of an electronic lifestyle and reconnect with the global economy by encouraging them to employ innovative technology to do so.

As a result, Japan has become a major culture rival to the United States.

Manga and anime, which feature intelligent and humanlike robots, mecha, and cyborgs, are two of Japan's most recognizable entertainment exports.

The notion of spiritual machinery is widely accepted in Japan's Buddhist and Shinto worldviews.

Masahiro Mori, a roboticist at Tokyo Institute of Technology, has proposed that a sufficiently powerful artificial intelligence may one day become a Buddha.

Mindar, a robot based on the Goddess of Mercy Kannon Bodhisattva, is a new priest at Kyoto's Kodaiji temple.

Mindar is capable of presenting a sermon on the popular Heart Sutra ("form is empty, emptiness is form") while moving arms, head, and torso, and costs a million dollars.

Robot partners are accepted because they are among the things thought to be endowed with kami, the spirit or divinity shared by the gods, nature, objects, and people in the Shinto faith.

In Japan, Shinto priests are still periodically summoned to consecrate or bless new and abandoned electronic equipment.

The Kanda-Myokin Shrine, which overlooks Tokyo's Akihabara electronics retail area, provides prayer, rituals, and talismans aimed at purifying or conferring heavenly protection on items like smart phones, computer operating systems, and hard drives.

Americans, on the other hand, are just now starting to grapple with issues of robot identity and spirituality.

This is partly due to the fact that America's leading faiths have their roots in Christian rites and practices, which have traditionally been adverse to science and technology.

However, the histories of Christianity and robotics are intertwined.

In the 1560s, Philip II of Spain, for example, commissioned the first mechanical monk.

Mechanical automata, according to Stanford University historian Jessica Riskin (2010), are uniquely Catholic in origin.

They allowed for computerized reenactments of biblical tales in churches and cathedrals, as well as artificial equivalents of real humans and celestial entities like as angels for study and contemplation.

They also aided Renaissance and early modern Christian thinkers and theologians in contemplating conceptions of motion, life, and the incorporeal soul.

By the middle of the eighteenth century, "There was no dichotomy between machinery and divinity or vitality in the culture of living machinery that surrounded these machines," Riskin writes.

"On the contrary, the automata symbolized spirit in all of its bodily manifestations, as well as life at its most vibrant" (Riskin 2010, 43).

That spirit is still alive and well today.

SanTO, described as a robot with "divine qualities" and "the first Catholic robot," was unveiled at a conference of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in New Delhi in 2019. (Trovato et al. 2019).

In reformist churches, robots are also present.

To commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the Protestant churches of Hesse and Nassau unveiled the interactive, multilingual BlessU-2 robot in 2017.

The robot, as its name indicates, selects specific blessings for particular attendees.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's God and Computers Project intended to establish a conversation between academics developing artificial intelligence and religious experts.

She characterized herself as a "theological counselor" to MIT's Humanoid Robotics Group's emotional AI experimental robots Cog and Kismet.

Foerst concluded that embodied AI becomes engaged in the divine image of God, develops human capabilities and emotional sociability, and shares equal dignity as a creature in the universe via exercises in machine-man connection, intersubjectivity, and ambiguity.

"Victor Frankenstein and his creation may now be pals." 

Frankenstein will be able to accept that his creation, which he saw as a machine and an objective entity, had evolved into a human person" (Foerst 1996, 692).

Deep existential concerns about Christian thinking and conduct are being raised by robots and artificial intelligence.

Since the 1980s, according to theologian Michael DeLashmutt of the Episcopal Church's General Theological Seminary, "proliferating digital technologies have given birth to a cultural mythology that presents a rival theological paradigm to the one presented by kerygmatic Christian theology" (DeLashmutt 2006, i).

DeLashmutt opposes techno-theology for two reasons.

First, technology is not inherently immutable, and as such, it should not be reified or given autonomy, but rather examined.

Second, information technology isn't the most reliable tool for comprehending the world and ourselves.

In the United States, smart robots are often considered as harbingers of economic disruption, AI domination, and even doomsday.

Several times, Pope Francis has brought up the subject of artificial intelligence ethics.

He discussed the matter with Microsoft President Brad Smith in 2019.

The Vatican and Microsoft have teamed together to award a prize for the finest PhD dissertation on AI for social benefit.

In 2014, creationist academics at Matthews, North Carolina's Southern Evangelical Seminary & Bible College bought an Aldebaran Nao humanoid robot to much fanfare.

The seminarians wanted to learn about self-driving cars and think about the ethics of new intelligent technology in the perspective of Christian theology.

The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention produced the study "Artificial Intelligence: An Evangelical Statement of Principles" in 2019, rejecting any AI's intrinsic "identity, value, dignity, or moral agency" (Southern Baptist Convention 2019).

Jim Daly of Focus on the Family, Mark Galli of Christianity Today, and theologians Wayne Grudem and Richard Mouw were among the signatories.

Some evangelicals argue that transhumanist ideas regarding humanity's perfectibility via technology are incompatible with faith in Jesus Christ's perfection.

The Christian Transhumanist Association and the Mormon Transhumanist Association both oppose this viewpoint.

Both organizations acknowledge that science, technology, and Christian fellowship all contribute to affirming and exalting humanity as beings created in the image of God.

Robert Geraci, a religious studies professor at Manhattan College, wonders if people "could really think that robots are aware if none of them exercise any religion" (Geraci 2007).

He observes that in the United States, Christian sentiment favors virtual, immaterial artificial intelligence software over materialist robot bodies.

He compares Christian faith in the immortality of the soul to transhumanists' desire for entire brain emulation or mind uploading into a computer.

Mind, according to neuroscientists, is an emergent characteristic of the human brain's 86 billion neurons' networking.

Christian longing for transcendence have similarities to this intellectual construct.

Artificial intelligence's eschatology also contains a concept of freedom from death or agony; in this instance, the afterlife is cyberspatial.

New faiths, at least in part inspired by artificial intelligence, are gaining popularity.

The Church of Perpetual Life, based in Hollywood, Florida, is a transhumanist worship institution dedicated to the advancement of life-extension technology.

Cryonics pioneers Saul Kent and Bill Faloon launched the church in 2013.

Artificial intelligence serial entrepreneur Peter Voss and Transhumanist Party presidential candidate Zoltan Istvan are among the professionals in artificial intelligence and transhumanism who have visited the center.

Martine and Gabriel Rothblatt formed the Terasem Movement, a religion related with cryonics and transhumanism.

"Life is intentional, death is voluntary, god is technical, and love is fundamental," the faith's basic doctrines state (Truths of Terasem 2012).

The realistic Bina48 robot, created by Hanson Robotics and modeled after Martine's husband, is in part a demonstration of Terasem's mindfile-based algorithm, which Terasem believes could one day allow legitimate mind uploading into an artificial substrate (and maybe even bring about everlasting life).

Heaven, according to Gabriel Rothblatt, is similar to a virtual reality simulation.

Anthony Levandowski, an engineer who oversaw the teams that produced Google and Uber's self-driving vehicles, launched The Way of the Future, an AI-based religion.

Levandowski is driven by a desire to build a superintelligent, artificial god with Christian morals.

"If anything becomes much, much smarter in the future," he continues, "there will be a changeover as to who is truly in command." 

"What we want is for the planet's control to pass peacefully and peacefully from people to whoever." 

And to make sure that 'whatever' understands who assisted it in getting along" (Harris 2017).

He is driven to ensure that artificial intelligences have legal rights and are fully integrated into human society.

Spiritual robots have become a popular science fiction motif.

Cutie (QT-1) convinces other robots that human people are too mediocre to be their creators in Isaac Asimov's short tale "Reason" (1941).

Instead, Cutie (QT-1) encourages them to worship the power plant on their space station, calling it the Master of both machines and mankind.

The Mission for Saint Aquin (1951), by Anthony Boucher, is a postapocalyptic novelette that pays tribute to Asimov's "Reason."

It follows a priest called Thomas on a postapocalyptic quest to find the famous evangelist Saint Aquin's last resting place (Boucher patterns Saint Aquin after St. Thomas Aquinas, who used Aristotelian logic to prove the existence of God).

Saint Aquin's corpse is said to have never decayed.

The priest rides a robass (robot donkey) with artificial intelligence; the robass is an atheist and tempter who can engage in theological debate with the priest.

When Saint Aquin is finally discovered after many trials, he is revealed to be an incorruptible android theologian.

Thomas is certain of the accomplishment of his quest—he has discovered a robot with a logical brain that, although manufactured by a human, believes in God.

In Stanislaw Lem’s novella “Trurl and the Construction of Happy Worlds” (1965), a box-dwelling robot race created by a robot engineer is persuaded that their habitat is a paradise to which all other creatures should aspire.

The robots form a religion and begin making preparations to drill a hole in the box in order to bring everyone outside the box into their paradise, willingly or unwillingly.

The constructor of the robots is enraged by this idea, and he destroys them.

Clifford D. Simak, a science fiction grandmaster, is also known for his spiritual robots.

Hezekiel is a robot abbot who leads a Christian congregation of other robots in a monastery in A Choice of Gods (1972).

The group has received a communication from The Principle, a god-like creature, although Hezekiel believes that "God must always be a pleasant old (human) gentleman with a long, white, flowing beard" (Simak 1972, 158).

The robot monks in Project Pope (1981) are on the lookout for paradise and the meaning of the cosmos.

John, a mechanical gardener, tells the Pope that he believes he has a soul.

The Pope, on the other hand, is not so sure.

Because humans refuse to let robots to their churches, the robots establish their own Vatican-17 on a faraway planet.

A massive computer serves as the Pope of the Robots.

Androids idolize their creator Simeon Krug in Robert Silverberg's Hugo-nominated novel Tower of Glass (1970), hoping that he would one day free them from harsh slavery.

They leave faith and rebel when they learn Krug is uninterested in their freedom.

Silverberg's Nebula award-winning short story "Good News from the Vatican" (1971) is about an artificially intelligent robot who is elected Pope Sixtus the Seventh as a compromise candidate.

"If he's elected," Rabbi Mueller continues, "he wants an instant time-sharing arrangement with the Dalai Lama, as well as a reciprocal plug-in with the chief programmer of the Greek Orthodox church, just to start" (Silverberg 1976, 269).

Television shows often include spiritual robots.

In the British science fiction comedy Red Dwarf (1988–1999), sentient computers are equipped with belief chips, which convince them of the existence of silicon paradise.

At the animated television series Futurama (1999–2003, 2008–2013), robots worship in the Temple of Robotology, where Reverend Lionel Preacherbot delivers sermons.

The artificial Cylons are monotheists in the popular reboot and reinterpretation of the Battlestar Galactica television series (2003–2009), whereas the humans of the Twelve Colonies are polytheists.

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

Find Jai on Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram

You may also want to read more about Artificial Intelligence here.

See also: 

Foerst, Anne; Nonhuman Rights and Personhood; Robot Ethics; Technological Singularity.

References & Further Reading:

DeLashmutt, Michael W. 2006. “Sketches Towards a Theology of Technology: Theological Confession in a Technological Age.” Ph.D. diss., University of Glasgow.

Foerst, Anne. 1996. “Artificial Intelligence: Walking the Boundary.” Zygon 31, no. 4: 681–93.

Geraci, Robert M. 2007. “Religion for the Robots.” Sightings, June 14, 2007.

Harris, Mark. 2017. “Inside the First Church of Artificial Intelligence.” Wired, November 15, 2017.

Riskin, Jessica. 2010. “Machines in the Garden.” Arcade: A Digital Salon 1, no. 2 (April 30): 16–43.

Silverberg, Robert. 1970. Tower of Glass. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Simak, Clifford D. 1972. A Choice of Gods. New York: Ballantine.

Southern Baptist Convention. Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. 2019. “Artificial Intelligence: An Evangelical Statement of Principles.”

Trovato, Gabriele, Franco Pariasca, Renzo Ramirez, Javier Cerna, Vadim Reutskiy, Laureano Rodriguez, and Francisco Cuellar. 2019. “Communicating with SanTO: The First Catholic Robot.” In 28th IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication, 1–6. New Delhi, India, October 14–18.

Truths of Terasem. 2012.


Artificial Intelligence - Who Is Rudy Rucker?


Rudolf von Bitter (German: Rudolf von Bitter) Rucker (1946–) is an American novelist, mathematician, and computer scientist who is the great-great-great-grandson of philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831).

Rucker is most recognized for his sarcastic, mathematics-heavy science fiction, while having written in a variety of fictional and nonfictional genres.

His Ware tetralogy (1982–2000) is regarded as one of the cyberpunk literary movement's fundamental works.

Rucker graduated from Rutgers University with a Ph.D. in mathematics in 1973.

He shifted from teaching mathematics in colleges in the US and Germany to teaching computer science at San José State University, where he ultimately became a professor before retiring in 2004.

Rucker has forty publications to his credit, including science fiction novels, short story collections, and nonfiction works.

His nonfiction works span the disciplines of mathematics, cognitive science, philosophy, and computer science, with topics such as the fourth dimension and the meaning of computation among them.

The popular mathematics book Infinity and the Mind: The Science and Philosophy of the Infinite (1982), which he wrote, is still in print at Princeton University Press.

Rucker established himself in the cyberpunk genre with the Ware series (Software 1982, Wetware 1988, Freeware 1997, and Realware 2000).

Since Dick's death in 1983, the famous American science fiction award has been handed out every year since Software received the inaugural Philip K. Dick Award.

Wetware was also awarded this prize in 1988, in a tie with Paul J. McAuley's Four Hundred Billion Stars.

The Ware Tetralogy, which Rucker has made accessible for free online as an e-book under a Creative Commons license, was reprinted in 2010 as a single volume.

Cobb Anderson, a retired roboticist who has fallen from favor for creating sentient robots with free agency, known as boppers, is the protagonist of the Ware series.

The boppers want to reward him by giving him immortality via mind uploading; unfortunately, this procedure requires the full annihilation of Cobb's brain, which the boppers do not consider necessary hardware.

In Wetware, a bopper named Berenice wants to impregnate Cobb's niece in order to produce a human-machine hybrid.

Humanity retaliates by unleashing a mold that kills boppers, but this chipmould thrives on the cladding that covers the boppers' exteriors, resulting in the creation of an organic-machine hybrid in the end.

Freeware is based on these lifeforms, which are now known as moldies and are generally detested by biological people.

This story also includes extraterrestrial intelligences, who in Realware provide superior technology and the power to change reality to different types of human and artificial entities.

The book Postsingular, published in 2007, was the first of Rucker's works to be distributed under a Creative Commons license.

The book, set in San Francisco, addresses the emergence of nanotechnology, first in a dystopian and later in a utopian scenario.

In the first section, a rogue engineer creates nants, which convert Earth into a virtual replica of itself, destroying the planet in the process, until a youngster is able to reverse their programming.

The narrative then goes on to depict orphids, a new kind of nanotechnology that allows people to become cognitively enhanced, hyperintelligent creatures.

Although the Ware tetralogy and Postsingular have been classified as cyberpunk books, Rucker's literature has been seen as difficult to label, since it combines hard science with humor, graphic sex, and constant drug use.

"Happily, Rucker himself has established a phrase to capture his unusual mix of commonplace reality and outraeous fantasy: transrealism," writes science fiction historian Rob Latham (Latham 2005, 4).

"Transrealism is not so much a form of SF as it is a sort of avant-garde literature," Rucker writes in "A Transrealist Manifesto," published in 1983.  (Rucker 1983, 7).

"This means writing SF about yourself, your friends, and your local surroundings, transmuted in some science-fictional fashion," he noted in a 2002 interview. Using actual life as a basis lends your writing a literary quality and keeps you from using clichés" (Brunsdale 2002, 48).

Rucker worked on the short story collection Transreal Cyberpunk with cyberpunk author Bruce Sterling, which was released in 2016.

Rucker chose to publish his book Nested Scrolls after suffering a brain hemorrhage in 2008.

It won the Emperor Norton Award for "amazing innovation and originality unconstrained by the constraints of petty reason" when it was published in 2011.

Million Mile Road Trip (2019), a science fiction book about a group of human and nonhuman characters on an intergalactic road trip, is his most recent work.

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

Find Jai on Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram

You may also want to read more about Artificial Intelligence here.

See also: 

Digital Immortality; Nonhuman Rights and Personhood; Robot Ethic.

References & Further Reading:

Brunsdale, Mitzi. 2002. “PW talks with Rudy Rucker.” Publishers Weekly 249, no. 17 (April 29): 48.

Latham, Rob. 2005. “Long Live Gonzo: An Introduction to Rudy Rucker.” Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 16, no. 1 (Spring): 3–5.

Rucker, Rudy. 1983. “A Transrealist Manifesto.” The Bulletin of the Science Fiction Writers of America 82 (Winter): 7–8.

Rucker, Rudy. 2007. “Postsingular.”

Rucker, Rudy. 2010. The Ware Tetralogy. Gaithersburg, MD: Prime Books, 2010.

Artificial Intelligence - Who Is Hiroshi Ishiguro (1963–)?


Hiroshi Ishiguro is a well-known engineer who is most known for his life-like humanoid robots.

He thinks that the present information culture will eventually develop into a world populated by robot caregivers or helpmates.

Ishiguro also expects that studying artificial people would help us better understand how humans are conditioned to read and comprehend the actions and expressions of their own species.

Ishiguro seeks to explain concepts like relationship authenticity, autonomy, creativity, imitation, reciprocity, and robot ethics in terms of cognitive science.

Ishiguro's study aims to produce robots that are uncannily identical to humans in look and behavior.

He thinks that his robots will assist us in comprehending what it is to be human.

Sonzaikan is the Japanese name for this sense of a human's substantial presence, or spirit.

Success, according to Ishiguro, may be measured and evaluated in two ways.

The first is what he refers to as the complete Turing Test, in which an android passes if 70% of human spectators are unaware that they are seeing a robot until at least two seconds have passed.

The second metric for success, he claims, is the length of time a human stays actively engaged with a robot before discovering that the robot's cooperative eye tracking does not reflect true thinking.

Robovie was one of Ishiguro's earliest robots, launched in 2000.

Ishiguro intended to make a robot that didn't appear like a machine or a pet, but might be mistaken for a friend in everyday life.

Robovie may not seem to be human, but it can perform a variety of innovative human-like motions and interactive activities.

Eye contact, staring at items, pointing at things, nodding, swinging and folding arms, shaking hands, and saying hello and goodbye are all possible with Robovie.

Robo Doll was extensively featured in Japanese media, and Ishiguro was persuaded that the robot's look, engagement, and conversation were vital to deeper, more nuanced connections between robots and humans.

In 2003, Ishiguro debuted Actroid to the general public for the first time.

Sanrio's Kokoro animatronics division has begun manufacturing Actroid, an autonomous robot controlled by AI software developed at Osaka University's Intelligent Robotics Laboratory.

Actroid has a feminine look (in science fiction terms, a "gynoid") with skin constructed of incredibly realistic silicone.

Internal sensors and quiet air actuators at 47 points of physical articulation allow the robot to replicate human movement, breathing, and blinking, and it can even speak.

Movement is done by sensor processing, data files carrying key val ues for degrees of freedom in movement of limbs and joints.

Five to seven degrees of freedom are typical for robot arms.

Arms, legs, torso, and neck of humanoid robots may have thirty or more degrees of freedom.

Programmers create Actroid scenarios in four steps: (1) collect recognition data from sensors activated by contact, (2) choose a motion module, (3) execute a specified series of movements and play an audio file, and (4) return to step 1.

Experiments utilizing irregular random or contingent reactions to human context hints have been shown to be helpful in holding the human subject's attention, but they are made much more effective when planned scenarios are included.

Motion modules are written in XML, a text-based markup language that is simple enough for even inexperienced programmers to understand.

Ishiguro debuted Repliee variants of the Actroid in 2005, which were supposed to be indistinguishable from a human female on first glance.

Repliee Q1Expo is an android replica of Ayako Fujii, a genuine Japanese newscaster.

Repliee androids are interactive; they can use voice recognition software to comprehend human conversations, answer verbally, maintain eye contact, and react quickly to human touch.

This is made possible by a sensor network made up of infrared motion detectors, cameras, microphones, identification tag readers, and floor sensors that is distributed and ubiquitous.

Artificial intelligence is used by the robot to assess whether the human is contacting the robot gently or aggressively.

Ishiguro also debuted Repliee R1, a kid version of the robot that looks identical to his then four-year-old daughter.

Actroids have recently been proven to be capable of imitating human limb and joint movement by observing and duplicating the movements.

Because much of the computer gear that runs the artificial intelligence program is external to the robot, it is not capable of actual movement.

Self-reports of human volunteers' sentiments and moods are captured when robots perform activities in research done at Ishiguro's lab.

The Actroid elicits a wide spectrum of emotions, from curiosity to disgust, acceptance to terror.

Ishiguro's research colleagues have also benefited from real-time neuroimaging of human volunteers in order to better understand how human brains are stimulated in human-android interactions.

As a result, Actroid serves as a testbed for determining why particular nonhuman agent acts fail to elicit the required cognitive reactions in humans.

The Geminoid robots were created in response to the fact that artificial intelligence lags far behind robotics when it comes to developing realistic interactions between humans and androids.

Ishiguro, in particular, admitted that it would be several years before a computer could have a lengthy, intensive spoken discussion with a person.

The Geminoid HI-1, which debuted in 2006, is a teleoperated (rather than totally autonomous) robot that looks similar to Ishiguro.

The name "gemininoid" is derived from the Latin word "twin." Hand fidgeting, blinking, and motions similar with human respiration are all possible for Geminoid.

Motion-capture technology is used to operate the android, which mimics Ishiguro's face and body motions.

The robot can imitate its creator's voice and communicate in a human-like manner.

Ishiguro plans to utilize the robot to teach students through remote telepresence one day.

When he is teleoperating the robot, he has observed that the sensation of immersion is so strong that his brain is fooled into producing phantom perceptions of actual contact when the android is poked.

The Geminoid-DK is a mechanical doppelgänger of Danish psychology professor Henrik Schärfe, launched in 2011.

While some viewers find the Geminoid's look unsettling, many others do not and simply communicate with the robot in a normal way.

In 2010, the Telenoid R1 was introduced as a teleoperated android robot.

Telenoid is 30 inches tall and amorphous, with just a passing resemblance to a human form.

The robot's objective is to transmit a human voice and gestures to a spectator who may use it as a communication or videoconferencing tool.

The Telenoid, like the other robots in Ishiguro's lab, looks to be alive: it simulates breathing and speech gestures and blinks.

However, in order to stimulate creativity, the design limits the amount of features.

In this manner, the Telenoid is analogous to a tangible, real-world avatar.

Its goal is to make more intimate, human-like interactions possible using telecommunications technology.

Ishiguro suggests that the robot might one day serve as a suitable stand-in for a teacher or partner who is otherwise only accessible from afar.

The Elfoid, a tiny version of the robot, can be grasped with one hand and carried in a pocket.

The autonomous persocom dolls that replace smart phones and other electronics in the immensely famous manga series Chobits foreshadowed the Actroid and Telenoid.

Ishiguro is a professor of systems innovation and the director of Osaka University's Intelligent Robotics Laboratory.

He's also a group leader at Kansai Science City's Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute (ATR) and a cofounder of the tech-transfer startup Vstone Ltd.

He thinks that future commercial enterprises will profit from the success of teleoperated robots in order to fund the continued development of his autonomous robots.

Erica, a humanoid robot that became a Japanese television news presenter in 2018, is his most recent creation.

Ishiguro studied oil painting extensively as a young man, pondering how to depict human resemblance on canvas while he worked.

In Hanao Mori's computer science lab at Yamanashi University, he got enthralled with robots.

At Osaka University, Ishiguro pursued his PhD in engineering under computer vision and image recognition pioneer Saburo Tsuji.

At studies done in Tsuji’s lab, he worked on mobile robots capable of SLAM— simultaneous mapping and navigation using panoramic and omni-directional video cameras.

This work led to his doctoral dissertation, which focused on tracking a human subject using active camera control and panning to acquire complete 360-degree views of the surroundings.

Ishiguro believed that his technology and applications may be utilized to provide a meaningful internal map of an interacting robot's surroundings.

His dissertation was rejected by the first reviewer of an article based on it.

Fine arts and technology, according to Ishiguro, are inexorably linked; art inspires new technologies, while technology enables for the creation and duplication of art.

Ishiguro has recently brought his robots to Seinendan, a theatre company founded by Oriza Hirata, in order to put what he's learned about human-robot communication into practice.

Ishiguro's field of cognitive science and AI, which he calls android science, has precedents in Disneyland's "Great Moments with Mr.

Lincoln" robotics animation show and the fictitious robot replacements described in the Bruce Willis film Surrogates (2009).

In the Willis film, Ishiguro has a cameo appearance.

Jai Krishna Ponnappan

You may also want to read more about Artificial Intelligence here.

See also: 

Caregiver Robots; Nonhuman Rights and Personhood.

Further Reading:

Guizzo, Erico. 2010. “The Man Who Made a Copy of Himself.” IEEE Spectrum 47, no. 4 (April): 44–56.

Ishiguro, Hiroshi, and Fabio Dalla Libera, eds. 2018. Geminoid Studies: Science and Technologies for Humanlike Teleoperated Androids. New York: Springer.

Ishiguro, Hiroshi, and Shuichi Nishio. 2007. “Building Artificial Humans to Understand Humans.” Journal of Artificial Organs 10, no. 3: 133–42.

Ishiguro, Hiroshi, Tetsuo Ono, Michita Imai, Takeshi Maeda, Takayuki Kanda, and Ryohei Nakatsu. 2001. “Robovie: An Interactive Humanoid Robot.” International Journal of Industrial Robotics 28, no. 6: 498–503.

Kahn, Peter H., Jr., Hiroshi Ishiguro, Batya Friedman, Takayuki Kanda, Nathan G. Freier, Rachel L. Severson, and Jessica Miller. 2007. “What Is a Human? Toward Psychological Benchmarks in the Field of Human–Robot Interaction.” Interaction Studies 8, no. 3: 363–90.

MacDorman, Karl F., and Hiroshi Ishiguro. 2006. “The Uncanny Advantage of Using Androids in Cognitive and Social Science Research.” Interaction Studies 7, no. 3: 297–337.

Nishio, Shuichi, Hiroshi Ishiguro, and Norihiro Hagita. 2007a. “Can a Teleoperated Android Represent Personal Presence? A Case Study with Children.” Psychologia 50: 330–42.

Nishio, Shuichi, Hiroshi Ishiguro, and Norihiro Hagita. 2007b. “Geminoid: Teleoperated Android of an Existing Person.” In Humanoid Robots: New Developments, edited by Armando Carlos de Pina Filho, 343–52. Vienna, Austria: I-Tech.

Artificial Intelligence - Who Is Anne Foerst?



Anne Foerst (1966–) is a Lutheran clergyman, theologian, author, and computer science professor at Allegany, New York's St. Bonaventure University.

In 1996, Foerst earned a doctorate in theology from the Ruhr-University of Bochum in Germany.

She has worked as a research associate at Harvard Divinity School, a project director at MIT, and a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

She supervised the God and Computers Project at MIT, which encouraged people to talk about existential questions brought by scientific research.

Foerst has written several scientific and popular pieces on the need for improved conversation between religion and science, as well as shifting concepts of personhood in the light of robotics research.

God in the Machine, published in 2004, details her work as a theological counselor to the MIT Cog and Kismet robotics teams.

Foerst's study has been influenced by her work as a hospital counselor, her years at MIT collecting ethnographic data, and the writings of German-American Lutheran philosopher and theologian Paul Tillich.

As a medical counselor, she started to rethink what it meant to be a "normal" human being.

Foerst was inspired to investigate the circumstances under which individuals are believed to be persons after seeing variations in physical and mental capabilities in patients.

In her work, Foerst contrasts between the terms "human" and "person," with human referring to members of our biological species and per son referring to a person who has earned a form of reversible social inclusion.

Foerst uses the Holocaust as an illustration of how personhood must be conferred but may also be revoked.

As a result, personhood is always vulnerable.

Foerst may explore the inclusion of robots as individuals using this personhood schematic—something people bestow to each other.

Tillich's ideas on sin, alienation, and relationality are extended to the connections between humans and robots, as well as robots and other robots, in her work on robots as potential people.

  • People become alienated, according to Tillich, when they ignore opposing polarities in their life, such as the need for safety and novelty or freedom.
  • People reject reality, which is fundamentally ambiguous, when they refuse to recognize and interact with these opposing forces, cutting out or neglecting one side in order to concentrate entirely on the other.
  • People are alienated from their lives, from the people around them, and (for Tillich) from God if they do not accept the complicated conflicts of existence.

The threat of reducing all things to items or data that can be measured and studied, as well as the possibility to enhance people's capacity to create connections and impart identity, are therefore opposites of danger and opportunity in AI research.

Foerst has attempted to establish a dialogue between theology and other structured fields of inquiry, following Tillich's paradigm.

Despite being highly welcomed in labs and classrooms, Foerst's work has been met with skepticism and pushback from some concerned that she is bringing counter-factual notions into the realm of science.

These concerns are crucial data for Foerst, who argues for a mutualistic approach in which AI researchers and theologians accept strongly held preconceptions about the universe and the human condition in order to have fruitful discussions.

Many valuable discoveries come from these dialogues, according to Foerst's study, as long as the parties have the humility to admit that neither side has a perfect grasp of the universe or human existence.

Foerst's work on AI is marked by humility, as she claims that researchers are startled by the vast complexity of the human person while seeking to duplicate human cognition, function, and form in the figure of the robot.

The way people are socially rooted, socially conditioned, and socially accountable adds to the complexity of any particular person.

Because human beings' embedded complexity is intrinsically physical, Foerst emphasizes the significance of an embodied approach to AI.

Foerst explored this embodied technique while at MIT, where having a physical body capable of interaction is essential for robotic research and development.

When addressing the evolution of artificial intelligence, Foerst emphasizes a clear difference between robots and computers in her work (AI).

Robots have bodies, and those bodies are an important aspect of their learning and interaction abilities.

Although supercomputers can accomplish amazing analytic jobs and participate in certain forms of communication, they lack the ability to learn through experience and interact with others.

Foerst is dismissive of research that assumes intelligent computers may be created by re-creating the human brain.

Rather, she contends that bodies are an important part of intellect.

Foerst proposes for growing robots in a way similar to human child upbringing, in which robots are given opportunities to interact with and learn from the environment.

This process is costly and time-consuming, just as it is for human children, and Foerst reports that funding for creative and time-intensive AI research has vanished, replaced by results-driven and military-focused research that justifies itself through immediate applications, especially since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Foerst's work incorporates a broad variety of sources, including religious texts, popular films and television programs, science fiction, and examples from the disciplines of philosophy and computer science.

Loneliness, according to Foerst, is a fundamental motivator for humans' desire of artificial life.

Both fictional imaginings of the construction of a mechanical companion species and con actual robotics and AI research are driven by feelings of alienation, which Foerst ties to the theological position of a lost contact with God.

Academic opponents of Foerst believe that she has replicated a paradigm initially proposed by German theologian and scholar Rudolph Otto in his book The Idea of the Holy (1917).

The heavenly experience, according to Otto, may be discovered in a moment of attraction and dread, which he refers to as the numinous.

Critics contend that Foerst used this concept when she claimed that humans sense attraction and dread in the figure of the robot.

Jai Krishna Ponnappan

You may also want to read more about Artificial Intelligence here.

See also: 

Embodiment, AI and; Nonhuman Rights and Personhood; Pathetic Fallacy; Robot Ethics; Spiritual Robots.

Further Reading:

Foerst, Anne. 2005. God in the Machine: What Robots Teach Us About Humanity and God. New York: Plume.

Geraci, Robert M. 2007. “Robots and the Sacred in Science Fiction: Theological Implications of Artificial Intelligence.” Zygon 42, no. 4 (December): 961–80.

Gerhart, Mary, and Allan Melvin Russell. 2004. “Cog Is to Us as We Are to God: A Response to Anne Foerst.” Zygon 33, no. 2: 263–69.

Groks Science Radio Show and Podcast with guest Anne Foerst. Audio available online at Transcript available at

Reich, Helmut K. 2004. “Cog and God: A Response to Anne Foerst.” Zygon 33, no. 2: 255–62.

Artificial Intelligence - How Has The Blade Runner (1982) Film Envisioned AI Androids?


Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip Dick was first published in 1968 and is set in post-industrial San Francisco in the year 2020.

In 1982, the book was renamed Blade Runner for a cinematic adaption set in Los Angeles in the year 2019.

While the texts vary significantly, both recount the narrative of bounty hunter Rick Deckard, who is entrusted with locating (and executing) escaping replicants/androids (six in the novel, four in the film).

The setting for both novels is a future in which cities have grown overcrowded and polluted.

Natural nonhuman life has virtually vanished (due to radiation sickness) and been replaced by synthetic and artificial life.

Natural life has become a valued commodity in the future.

Replicants are meant to perform a variety of industrial functions in this environment, most notably as labor for off-world colonies.

The replicants are an exploited race that was created to serve human masters.

When they are no longer useful, they are discarded, and when they struggle against their circumstances, they are retired.

Blade runners are specialist law enforcement operatives tasked with apprehending and killing renegade replicants.

Rick Deckard, a former Blade Runner, returns from retirement to track down the sophisticated Nexus-6 replicant models.

These replicants have escaped to Earth after rebelling against the slave-like conditions on Mars.

In both texts, the treatment of artificial intelligence serves as an implicit critique of capitalism.

The Rosen Association in the book and the Tyrell Corporation in the film develop replicants to create a more docile labor, implying that capitalism converts people into robots.

Eldon Rosen (who is called Tyrell in the film) emphasizes these obnoxious commercial imperatives: "We provided what the colonists wanted...." Every commercial venture is founded on a time-honored principle.

Other corporations would have developed these progressive more human kinds if our company hadn't." 

There are two types of replicants in the movie: those who are designed to be unaware that they are androids and are filled with implanted memories (like Rachael Tyrell), and those who are aware that they are androids and live by that knowledge (the Nexus-6 fugitives).

Rachael in the film is a new Nexus-7 model that has been implanted with the memories of Eldon Tyrell's niece, Lilith. Deckard is sent to murder her, but instead falls in love with her. The two depart the city together at the conclusion of the film.

Rachael's character is handled differently in the book.

Deckard makes an effort to recruit Rachael's assistance in locating the runaway androids. Rachael agrees to meet Deckard in a hotel room in the hopes of persuading him to drop the case.

Rachael explains during their encounter that one of the runaway androids (Pris Stratton) is a carbon copy of her (making Rachael a Nexus-6 model in the novel).

Deckard and Rachael actually have sex and profess their love for each other.

Rachael, on the other hand, is discovered to have slept with other blade runners.

She is designed to do just that in order to keep them from fulfilling their tasks.

Deckard threatens to murder Rachael but decides to leave the hotel rather than carry out his threat.

The replicants are undetectable in both the literature and the movies.

Even under a microscope, they seem to be totally human.

The Voigt-Kampff test, which separates humans from androids based on emotional reactions to a variety of questions, is the sole method to identify them.

The exam is conducted with the use of a machine that monitors blush reaction, heart rate, and eye movement in response to empathy-related questions.

Deckard's identity as a human or a replicant is unknown at this time.

Rachael even inquires as to whether he has completed the Voigt-Kampff exam.

In the movie, Deckard's position is unclear.

Despite the fact that the audience is free to make their own choice, filmmaker Ridley Scott has hinted that Deckard is a replicant.

Deckard takes and passes the exam at the conclusion of the book, although he starts to doubt the effectiveness of blade running.

More than the movie, the book explores what it means to be human in the face of technological advancements.

The book depicts the fragility of the human experience and how it can be easily harmed by the technology that is supposed to help it.

Individuals with Penfield mood organs, for example, can use them to control their emotions.

All that is required is for a person to look up an emotion in a manual, dial the appropriate number, and then experience whatever emotion they desire.

The device's usage and the generation of artificial sensations implies that people may become robotic, as Deckard's wife Iran points out: My first response was to express gratitude for the fact that we could afford a Penfield mood organ.

But then I understood how harmful it was to sense the lack of vitality everywhere, not only in this building - do you know what I mean? I'm assuming you don't.

That, however, was formerly thought to be an indication of mental disease, referred to as "lack of proper emotion." The argument made by Dick is that the mood organ inhibits humans from feeling the right emotional elements of life, which is precisely what the Voigt-Kampff test reveals replicants are incapable of.

Philip Dick was known for his hazy and maybe gloomy vision of artificial intelligence.

His androids and robots are distinctly ambiguous.

They desire to be like humans, yet they lack empathy and emotions.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is heavily influenced by this uncertainty, which also appears onscreen in Blade Runner.

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

You may also want to read more about Artificial Intelligence here.

See also: 

Nonhuman Rights and Personhood; Pathetic Fallacy; Turing Test.

Further Reading

Brammer, Rebekah. 2018. “Welcome to the Machine: Artificial Intelligence on Screen.” Screen Education 90 (September): 38–45.

Fitting, Peter. 1987. “Futurecop: The Neutralization of Revolt in Blade Runner.” Science Fiction Studies 14, no. 3: 340–54.

Sammon, Paul S. 2017. Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner. New York: Dey Street Books.

Wheale, Nigel. 1991. “Recognising a ‘Human-Thing’: Cyborgs, Robots, and Replicants in Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.” Critical Survey 3, no. 3: 297–304.

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