Speaker: Simon Balle, master in theology
(Simon has just handed in his master thesis on "Our new neighbor? A Theological Løgstrup-Inspired Ethics for Robots" at Aarhus University.)
In the last few decades, we have increasingly become accustomed to the fact that artificial intelligence (AI) and robots become more intelligent, can be part of more contexts and solve tasks we previously thought were reserved for human beings. Last year, Reformation guests in Wittenberg were able to get a robot's blessing, and a few months later, the first ever robot citicenship were granted to the robot Sophia. The robots are here, and they are beginning to interact with us. This raises some serious questions about human uniqueness and value.
On the very first pages of the Bible, we read that man is "created in the image of God" and later in the theological tradition, the idea of he soul of man developed. These are two ways to talk about what is essentially human. If God loves his "figurative" and "spiritual" creatures and wishes to save them, is God's love thereby reserved for man, while the robots, by principle, are excluded? Or will they (in the future) be able to participate in the 'figurative' and 'spiritual'?
These are some of the considerations that church and theology must begin to consider before technological developments overthrow us.