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Artificial Intelligence and Religion Seminar

Call for Proposals

Scholars of religion and theology add a crucial voice to the ethics of artificial intelligence. In keeping with this year’s conference theme, we seek papers that address how religion and theology together might provide a social justice oriented lens through which to explore artificial intelligence. We will have two sessions. One session will focus on theory and one on A.I. experiments.

For our theory session, we seek papers that focus on general A.I. and social justice. What is meant by general A.I.? How might we conceive sentience, theologically? Since the divine is often associated with sublime, could a machine generate new experiences of divine-like presence or intervention using Ai Art? Might AI help evolve an (semi-)autonomous spirituality that breathes new life into our world? Longtermism and Effective Altruism seek social justice for a future that surpasses inequality through the development of a society of plentitude using artificial intelligence, but these approaches have also been criticized by some. We seek papers that address these movements.  We encourage proposals that address racialized, gendered, sexed, and/or differently abled perspectives. We welcome original papers that pose new questions.

Additionally, we seek proposals that show experiments using artificial intelligence in the study of religion. Scholars that are finding new applications for A.I. are encouraged to submit an abstract proposal even if their project is ongoing. Follow-up reports on projects already presented are likewise welcome.

Please note that this paper uses the AAR full-papers program, in which papers are made available before the meeting. Accepted proposers should expect to produce article-length papers (4000-7000 words) that will be due by mid-October 2023.

Statement of Purpose

Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) is a topic with widespread cultural impact. It is likewise becoming increasingly relevant to religion. Several attempts at using A.I. to understand biblical texts or to model religious practices have yielded fascinating results. But A. I. increasingly is becoming part of the lives of religious people from home A.I. devices, to the application of A.I. by religious groups and organizations, to the prospect of a future superintelligent A.I. that may pose existential threats to humanity or provide solutions to seemingly insoluble problems. Artificial Intelligence is a topic that will increasingly impact religion and religious people as well as individuals who find spirituality in places that are intersecting with digitalization, including popular culture sites such as sport, and music. Changes may be coming from widespread unemployment to the virtual elimination of death itself. These are issues within the purview of Religious Studies and Theology that require systematic analysis. This the seminar deals with the application and analysis of Narrow A.I. as well as the potential of General A.I. We seek scholars interested in experimental applications of artificial intelligence to religious studies and theology as well as the analysis of current and future implications of A.I. for religion and spirituality. This unit is a resource for engaging the importance and relevance of A.I. as it intersects with religion, theology, and spirituality. We seek to contribute to the larger cultural and multidisciplinary discussion about these issues as A.I develops.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members