Evaluating the Co-dependence and Co-existence between Religion and Robots: Past, Present and Insights on the Future


The relationship between religions and science can be considered historically controversial in nature. In constantly evolving global societies, it is important to provide a new perspective on the past and present relationship between religions and technological developments in the different societies. In this regard, this paper will provide insights into the different ways in which ancient societies and their religious traditions helped in the development of technological progress. At one end, it will highlight some of the positive contributions of different religions towards technological progress in the past. At the other end, this discussion will aid in dispelling the viewpoint that perceived the ancient cultures and societies as bereft of technological knowledge and innovation. This paper will provide a historical perspective on the development of relationship between religion and robotics in the past. A brief look at the existing scenario within the contemporary societies will also be examined, along with discussion of socio-cultural norms and values related to perception of robots in different Eastern and Western cultures. The discussion will conclude with some predictions regarding the future, along with the different ways in which the relationship of co-existence and co-dependence is expected to evolve between religion and robotics in the future, which goes beyond the predictions of mass annihilation and mass enslavement by sentient AI-based robots.

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Grant No. NNX15AI02H under the sub-award No. 18-54, issued through the Nevada NASA Space Grant Consortium for Curriculum Development: Robotics and Big Data Curriculum for Undergraduate and Graduate Students of UNR College of Engineering.

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Correspondence to Habib Ahmed.

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Ahmed, H., La, H.M. Evaluating the Co-dependence and Co-existence between Religion and Robots: Past, Present and Insights on the Future. Int J of Soc Robotics 13, 219–235 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12369-020-00636-x

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  • Religion
  • Robotics
  • Social robots
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Automatons
  • Humanoid robots
  • Roboethics