From the author of the critically-acclaimed Interior States, a strikingly original exploration of what it might mean to be authentically human in the age of artificial intelligence. Meghan O'Gieblyn deftly weaves anecdotes from her life as a formerly religious believer with a sharp analysis of the rapid rise of technology, its impact on our understanding of identity, and the claims for transhumanism that bear a striking resemblance to Christian prophecies of resurrection and immortality.
For most of human history the world was a magical and enchanted place ruled by forces beyond our understanding. The rise of science and Descartes's division of mind from world made materialism our ruling paradigm, in the process asking whether our own consciousness--i.e., souls--might be illusions. Now the inexorable rise of technology, with artificial intelligences that surpass our comprehension and control, and the spread of digital metaphors for self-understanding, the core questions of existence--identity, knowledge, the very nature and purpose of life itself--urgently require rethinking.
Meghan O'Gieblyn tackles this challenge with philosophical rigor, intellectual reach, essayistic verve, refreshing originality, and an ironic sense of contradiction. She draws deeply and sometimes humorously from her own personal experience as a formerly religious believer still haunted by questions of faith, and she serves as the best possible guide to navigating the territory we are all entering.