Our technologies, ourselves.
In 1999, asked by the BBC whether the internet was “just a tool,” rock star David Bowie responded: “No, it’s an alien life form.” Bowie saw that the advent of digital technology as our dominant communications medium would have “unimaginable” consequences. He was right: in the past several decades, the difference between humanity and machinery has come to define the debate over our identity as a species. Our ability to recover from this global shock will depend on whether we can regain a sense of what it means to be human, what sets us apart from machines. We will need to re-establish an understanding of our place in the world that is teleologically and spiritually satisfying. We are distinguished from the bots by our created bodies and souls, and the union between them that renders us in the image of our creator. These are sources of authority and power for which we do not depend on our digital machines. Our future as masters of those machines, rather than their slaves, depends on remembering these truths about ourselves. For that, only one resource will do: religion.
But of course, there are many faiths. Already, institutions and nations around the world are locked in an as-yet largely unacknowledged struggle to determine what religions will reign in the digital age. Under the pressure of our technological predicament, many are rushing toward the creeds,
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