In Whose Image? Artificial Intelligence and the Imago Dei

Document Type

Book Chapter

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Artificial Intelligence and Robotics | Christianity | Computer Sciences | Physical Sciences and Mathematics | Religion


Despite a legacy of broken expectations, artificial intelligence retains a hold on the human imagination. Scarcely a month goes by without a news article reporting a new advance in the field. While it is not yet the age of the Jetsons, so called “intelligent” computers are an increasingly common part of our lives.

While each of these “intelligent” computers accomplishes some task or amuses us in some way, the Holy Grail of artificial intelligence, a computer that truly thinks like a human being, one we can talk to or trust as we might another person, continues to elude us. Yet we still hold out hopes for such a machine. We desire a computer that is created “in our image” just as we see ourselves as created in the image of our God. Understanding ourselves as created in the image of God connects us to God, reassures us that God is not wholly Other, wholly different from or indifferent to the human condition. Computers that are as similar to ourselves as possible could better connect us to them and to the work they do, making them easier to interact with in an increasingly technological world.