Pub. Date:
Augsburg Fortress, Publishers
In Our Image: Artificial Intelligence and the Human Spirit

In Our Image: Artificial Intelligence and the Human Spirit

by Noreen Herzfeld


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In Our Image is the first extensive theological engagement with the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Herzfeld probes this new field, which seeks to model human intelligence in computers, for its theological depth. She argues that "At the root of the fascination our current culture has with creating an image of ourselves in an intelligent computer lies a continuing problematic of defining ... what it means to be truly human." She shows how AI continues the classic Christian quest for defining the image of God in humans.

Offering a smart, accessible history and typology of research in AI, Herzfeld shows how its rival schools parallel competing options in the theological anthropologies of Niebuhr, von Rad, and Barth. She probes our interest in AI and argues that a relational anthropology informs the best research and the many depictions of AI in science fiction and film. Herzfeld's exciting work further develops this relational model, in which she finds a needed corrective to the individualistic and narcissistic tendencies of much recent spirituality and the seeds of a human/computer ethic.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780800634766
Publisher: Augsburg Fortress, Publishers
Publication date: 04/24/2002
Series: Theology and the Sciences
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 152
Sales rank: 576,319
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Noreen L. Herzfeld is Associate Professor of Computer Science at St. John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota. She holds a doctorate in theology, and advanced degrees in mathematics and computer science.

Table of Contents


In Our Image: The Desire for Artificial Intelligence

In Our Image: A Culture's Hopes and Fears

A Spiritual Question: "What Is Human Being?"

Why a Spiritual Approach to AI?

Reason, Regency, or Relationship: Three Approaches to the Image of God

Scriptural Background

The Image of God as Reason: The Substantive Approach of Reinhold Hiebuhr

The Image of God as Regency: The Functional Interpretation of Gerhard von Rad

The Image of a Triune God: The Relational Interpretation of Karl Barth

One Symbol, Multiple Interpretations

Copy, Tool, or Friend: Three Approaches to Artificial Intelligence

Imago Hominis as Reason: Intelligence as a Quality in Symbolic AI

Imago Hominis as Regency: Intelligence as Function in Weak AI

Imago Hominis as Relationship: The Turing Test and Emergent Systems

Parallel Images

HAL or R2-D2? Two Images of Artificial Intelligence in Science Fiction Film

Hal and Colossus: The Computer as Disembodied Reason

Robby, R2-D2, and David: The Robot as Companion or Magical Helper

Relationality in Science Fiction: More than the Turing Test

Why Create an Artifical Intelligence? A Christian Critique

Cybernetic Immortality: A Substantive Concern

Expanded Dominion: A Functional Concern

Alone in the Cosmos: A Relational Concern

The Depth of Our Dreams

Toward a Human-Computer Ethic

Human-Human Relationship

Human-Nonhuman Relationship

Human-Computer Relationship

A Question for the Future




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