Human and Artificial Intelligence: A Theological Response

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Artificial Intelligence and Robotics | Arts and Humanities | Computer Sciences | Physical Sciences and Mathematics | Religion


What is intelligence? Where does consciousness come from? Do we have souls, and if so, how do they relate to the mind or the body? These questions underlie many of the ethical issues that bedevil both scientists and politicians in the twenty-first century. Controversies surrounding abortion and stem cell research are rooted in varying views of when a new human soul comes into being. Euthanasia asks a similar question in reverse, namely, when does the soul depart in death? When the brain stops functioning? Or the body? In the field of computer science questions of mind, consciousness, and the soul arise in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Would an artificially intelligent computer have a soul? Should such a machine have rights? Human rights? What does it mean to be human?