Challenges and Promises of Artificial Intelligence in Religion

Stanislav Panin holds a PhD in Philosophy from Moscow State University and is a PhD candidate in the Department of Religion at Rice University.

Nowadays, applications based on artificial intelligence (AI) influence almost all areas of life, and religion is no exception. After all, one can train an artificial neural network using any set of texts, including religious texts, which allows to create applications explicitly designed to engage in conversations concerning spiritual matters. In fact, AI enthusiasts have already made their first attempts. While these developments might seem overwhelming, they are not entirely new. For centuries, similar themes have captured the religious imagination.


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Sacralization of AI

Yulia Razmetaeva is a visiting researcher at Uppsala University (Sweden) and Head of the Center for Law, Ethics and Digital Technologies at Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University (Ukraine).

We created AI. Now, AI is re-creating us. Smart algorithms have already changed much in our societies and lives. Artificial intelligence has changed our daily habits, decision-making processes, work environments, transportation management, natural disaster response and recovery, peacetime elections, and the defense of nations in wartime. There will be even more changes when we replace even more human effort with that of machines. There’s no way we can do without algorithms—they are indispensable, and we now rely on them for each and every step we take. As AI seems to have penetrated every tier of our lives, it is now part of the atmosphere, along with oxygen, and is essentially perceived as a deity or holy spirit that is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent.


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Religions’ Roles in Peacebuilding in The Gambia

His Excellency Ambassador Professor Muhammadou M.O. Kah is Ambassador of The Republic of The Gambia to the Swiss Confederation and is a permanent representative to the United Nations Office at Geneva, the World Trade Organization, and other international organizations at Geneva. The following is an edited summary of his remarks at the ICLRS 29th Annual International Law and Religion Symposium, 4 October 2022.

The Gambia Post-2017: Vision with Action

The Gambia places a high priority on the promotion and protection of human rights. Our constitution and supporting legislation reflect that, as do ongoing legislative and criminal justice reforms that began in 2017. The year 2017 is an important one for The Gambia, which was held hostage for 22 years under a dictatorship. The country’s human rights credentials were unimpeachable prior to those 22 years. Since 2017, when the people of The Gambia decided to vote out the 22-year dictatorship, the country has embarked on restoring what it was known for: being the true hub of human dignity and human rights, peace, and security in West Africa, and an example for the African continent. We strive to ensure that our citizens can exercise their civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights effectively, regardless of their ethnicity, race, place of origin, political opinion, gender, and importantly, their religion. Accordingly, the government’s vision of putting in place solid mechanisms in 2017 to promote and protect human rights in The Gambia has borne fruits, although the work towards its sustainability continues. This reminds me of words invoked by the late former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela: “Action without vision is only passing time. Vision without action is merely daydreaming. But vision with action can change the world.”[1]


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