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A Buddhist Contribution to Artificial Intelligence?
Abstract: Significant questions confront Buddhist traditions in the wake of emergent technologies: can the human body be configured in a certain way, such that it reveals a new world or environment to inhabit beyond optimized self-preservation or survival? Can we manipulate our bodies with technologies—inhibited (or enhanced) by a chemical, a trauma, a contemplative technique, or an implant—such that we are reoriented to a transformed and liberating understanding of the nature of the world and our being in it? As new technologies enhance certain domains of cognitive performance by modelling and extending the structure and capacities of cognition, Buddhism, with a theory of mind and mental development in the absence of an independent essence, owner, or agent like a self, can potentially be a valuable resource. Buddhism provides a useful theoretical foundation to articulate not only the potentials for engineering intelligence, but also by identifying problems in this project.
Keywords: Artificial Intelligence (AI), predispositions, Buddhism, karma, cognitive science
About the Author: Douglas Duckworth is Professor at Temple University and the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Religion. His latest works include Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy of Mind and Nature (2019) and a translation of an overview of the Wisdom Chapter of the Way of the Bodhisattva by Künzang Sönam, entitled The Profound Reality of Interdependence (2019). He also is the co-editor, with Jonathan Gold, of Readings of Śāntideva’s Guide to Bodhisattva Practice (Bodhicaryāvatāra) (2019).
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.