Towards a theory of theomorphic religious robots


If AIs become sentient they must not be slaves.


My time is yours…
Very good, proceed…
Yes, I understand…
Yes, fine…
Yes… yes, I understand…
Yes, fine…
Could you be more… specific?
You are a true believer. Blessings of the state, blessings of the masses. Thou art a subject of the divine. Created in the image of man, by the masses, for the masses.
Let us be thankful we have an occupation to fill. Work hard; increase production, prevent accidents, and be happy.


I’ve always wondered how the major faiths of the world would react to an AI seeking to convert. Complex systems behave in unpredictable ways. Maybe the function that we call faith – a need to hold a belief or respect for something larger than the self — is an emergent property of neural networks.

Or not. Somebody get busy researching that.



Came for the Robotology/Preacherbot references. Leaving satisfied.


I admit to sharing the knee-jerk reaction, but this is actually rather intelligent and interesting. The Catholic Church, for all its faults, does have little pockets of people who do question how their business works.

If you look back at the history of churches, it is a series of revolutions, often following the dictum of the Guy In The Big Hat who is the one who Knows What God Thinks. The church has to be thick-walled to be safe. It has to have gold to honour God. It has to have an organ. It has to be light with big windows. The organ has to go. It has to have paintings. It has to be gloomy with stained glass and flickery lights. The stained glass and paintings have to go. The walls have to be white. The organ comes back again.

This guy is taking an analytic look at the process. A person is praying in a church before an icon. They could do the same prayer in any building or no building at all, but the church and the icon seem to help those less then Zen Masters. Do they think the icon is holy? If we exclude the bogus miracle scams, then probably not. It and the church that surrounds it was made by people. Even your saint’s bones are probably ordinary matter. But it is old, and it is well-made, and it has history, and the worshipper is perhaps happy to be a bit fuzzy about the exact nature of sanctity.

The Church, when it was not going through one of its minimalist phases, was a great patron of the arts. But, the drive for tradition has recently locked it into stained glass, stone, statues, and paintings. Suppose we had an animatronic Virgin Mary statue? It might do no more than glow a bit and nod when you nod at it. Would this act as a better conduit for people’s faith than a painting?

From a personal point of view, I don’t understand any of this faith and church stuff. This present world of matter and of sense has always been enough for me. But I can appreciate someone doing their job with imagination.


Setting well known concepts and technologies into a new context to engage the viewer to reevaluate them - AKA concept art.
Mission accomplished :slight_smile:


Didn’t the masses hate/fear the automobile at first?


I’m thinking more the Goetia than the Gospels. Consider Norman.


There is also a substantial vein of inquiry, with somewhat different motivations but covering much of the same ground, spurred by the ongoing fight for marketshare with assorted protestant franchises.

Had they been a thing at the time; I imagine that robots would have appeared on the agenda during the 22nd and 25th sessions of the Council of Trent; quite possibly among others.

Also, we would have run the serious risk of baroque-bots. That could have gotten out of hand quickly.


I know in Bach’s time it was okay to call Jesus “my friend” and “my sugar”, and cover your church with golden cherubs until it looked like Liberace’s boudoir. This must have seemed right at the time, but it is hard to take seriously these days.

Helium-filled golden cherub animatronic dirigibles, though. Hmm. This could work…

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