Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2005


Artificial Intelligence and Robotics | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


Is a human/computer hybrid feasible: If so, in what ways would such hybridization affect our concept of what it means to be human? There are two forms of such hybridization, the actual and the virtual. Actual hybridization involves the implantation of mechanical devices in the human body. In actual hybridization the computer comes to us and to our body to enhance our functioning in our world. In virtual hybridization we go to the computer, projecting our minds into the world of cyberspace and being formed there. Perhaps the most common form of virtual hybridization is the immersion our children experience in the world of video games. Both forms of hybridization encourage us to think of ourselves only in terms of function, just when most of our theologians find that humans reflect the image of God through our relationships. This emphasis on function best serves the military, but leaves us in the theological community with a dissatisfying concept of what it means to be human.


This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Herzfeld, Noreen. 2005. Terminator or Super Mario: Human/Computer Hybrids, Actual and Virtual. Dialog: A Journal of Theology 44(4): 347-353., which has been published in final form at DOI: 10.1111/j.0012-2033.2005.00278.x.