Erin Green

Imperative Embodiment

A Theological Response to Mind in AI

Jahrgang 7 () / Heft 1, S. 48-69 (22)
Publiziert 14.07.2020

Today, the frontiers of artificial intelligence research bring to the fore conceptions of mind that impact and often conflict with theological commitments about the human and our place in Creation. Though such understandings are often only implicit in AI research, they reveal much about shortcomings in the field relating to biases about human embodied experience. Normative ideas about the human mind often eschew embodiment, and as a result offer little consideration of race, gender, sexual orientation, and disability. These gaps make theology an indispensable dialogue partner in the overall development and deployment of AI. Using a postfoundationalist approach to interdisciplinarity, this article draws on existing resources in contextual and ecological theology to engage dominant ideas about the mind found in AI research. Theological reasoning in these areas points to the complexity of human experience and attends to relationality and embodiment in ways largely missing from AI conceptions of the human mind. Putting theology and technology into direct contact opens way for a more detailed, contextually grounded understanding of mind in AI research. Such interdisciplinary interaction is critical for developing AI research that takes the fullness of human embodied experience – and the challenges that go with it – seriously.

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