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Artificial intelligence in Buddhist perspective

Somparn Promta (Department of Philosophy, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand)
Kenneth Einar Himma (Department of Philosophy, Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, Washington, USA)

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society

ISSN: 1477-996X

Article publication date: 27 June 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the possibility and desirability of artificial intelligence (AI) by considering western literature on AI and Buddhist doctrine.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper argues that these issues can best be considered examined from a variety of philosophical and religious viewpoints and that resolution of those issues depends on which point of view the questions are addressed from. There are a number of philosophical questions involving AI usually considered by philosophers: what is the definition of AI, what is a status of an AI as compared with human intelligence, is there a legitimate purpose for creating AI; if so, what is that purpose? Buddhism is a religion that is deeply philosophical and, perhaps to the surprise of western readers, has a lot to say about the nature of human mind and human intelligence. Although Buddhism does not talk explicitly about AI, the richness of its philosophical views concerning human nature and the nature of the physical world sheds considerable light on the philosophical questions stated above.

Findings

The paper explains how Buddhist teaching would answer the four questions above.

Originality/value

The paper is the first to clarify the Buddhist position on AI, and perhaps represents the first attempt to explore the relationships between any major religion and the AI agenda.

Keywords

Citation

Promta, S. and Einar Himma, K. (2008), "Artificial intelligence in Buddhist perspective", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 172-187. https://doi.org/10.1108/14779960810888374

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited