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Keywords:

  • artificial intelligence (AI);
  • artificial life (AL);
  • culture;
  • death;
  • evolution;
  • image of God;
  • information;
  • neuroprosthesis;
  • neurotechnology;
  • technonature;
  • techno sapiens

Suppose there comes a day when Homo sapiens has evolved into or been overtaken by techno sapiens. Will it then still make sense to speak of human beings as created in the image of God? What is the relevance of asking such a question today? I offer a sketch of the present state of development and discussion in artificial intelligence (AI) and artificial life (AL) and discuss some implications for the human condition. Taking into account both reality and fiction in AI and AL, I hold that, regardless of the degree of realization, issues related to technological evolution inform the cultural agenda—at least the European–American one. I comment on antireductionist arguments and on arguments from philosophy and (history of) culture. I argue in favor of a consonance between neurotechnology and the Christian gospel in terms of realizing the marks of messianic life. However, issues of justice, reason versus nature, and perfection and finitude versus imperfection and immortality call for further illumination. Even though no principal opposition seems to exist between technological evolution and possible interpretations of the concept of the image of God (imago dei), a number of significant dissimilarities need to be addressed, such as the differences between technical improvement and forgiveness or transformation and between immortality and resurrection. The role of irregularity, disturbance, and error for creative processes in nature and culture is an exciting topic in science and technology as well as in theology.