Theologist to discuss artificial intelligence

Anne Foerst, a theologist and participant in Project COG, an attempt to build a humanoid robot analogous to a human infant, will discuss “Ethical and Theological Reasoning in the Age of Humanoid Robots” at Bates College Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the Edmund S. Muskie Archives. Foerst’s talk is part of the Religion, Science and Public Policy Lecture Series at Bates, and the public is invited to attend without charge.

Foerst, who will discuss the religious and psychological implications of artificial intelligence and humanoid robots, believes a mechanistic anthropology can coexist with human values such as dignity and compassion.

“If we are able to rebuild ourselves, does that mean that we are nothing but machines? Can we respect something we can completely analyze and understand? And how might we end up treating our artificial counterparts?” asks Foerst, author of the forthcoming book “God and Computers: Myths of Artificial Intelligence and Their Epistemological Implications” (MIT Press, Cambridge).

Foerst is a postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a research associate at the Center for the Studies of Values in Public Life at Harvard Divinity School.

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