Automata | Review

Posted on July 18, 2015


“Surviving is not relevant. Living is. We want to live.”

“Life always ends up finding its way, even here.”


The idea of autonomous creatures has not only been around for a while (see Radical Evolution), the possibilities and potentialities are growing every day. There is great satisfaction to be had (and money to be made) in speculating about what that future is going to hold, and how it will benefit or harm humanity. Autómata is in the category of “apocalyptic,” with the potential for “hell” (to use Joel Garreau’s words) although I may use the word “purgatory” to describe the setting of Autómata. The open-ended closing posits possibilities beyond the difficult and treacherous transition to accepting autonomous machines.

If one can get past the poor scripting and poor acting of Autómata, the ideas embedded are truly fascinating. That it took millions of years for our intelligence to evolve to its point, but that artificial intelligence will do so in a matter of weeks (?), days (?), minutes (?), as a result of computing power is wild to consider. That humans don’t really understand the implications of such intelligence, that we’ll only find out on the “other side.” That there are power and political struggles to be waged in a new reality.

That there are robots doing the begging for you if you are homeless is a bit laughable. But that there are robots willing to provide sexual favors is not, as iterations of these robots actually exist today.

What about faith?

The implications for the religious community are many. This article by Jason E. Summers sums up well the interrogatives that are being had. There are those who are ready and anxious, such as the Turing Church:

Turing Church magazine: news and views that blend science and religion, spirituality and technology, engineering and science fiction, mind and matter. Hacking religion, awakening technology.

Kevin Kelly presented the next 1,000 years of Christianity at Q in 2007, asking the provocative question,

What happens when robots with artificial intelligence say, “I too am a child of God?”

And this is only scratching the surface.

I will simply ask, What is faith? What is religion? What are doctrines if not some expressions of humanity’s perceptions of reality? Thus, if faith is incapable of sustaining itself in and through the radical shifts and changes of Adam’s development, if religion only fights against technological advances rather than leverages it to assist in its ultimate aims, if doctrines are incapable of understanding or encapsulating new expressions of humanity’s creativity, what is the real nature of that faith/religion/doctrine and how is it “true” in the first place? Perhaps more importantly, what “meaning” does it really have, and how does it continue to sustain itself into the future?

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