How do spiritualism and AI intersect? And why does anyone even WANT AI, anyway? Simone Natale on AEWCH 218!

4 Apr

Until next time, human friends,
pple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker Anchor

Advertisements from sponsors don’t fit with the mission of AEWCH. So: SUPPORT AGAINST EVERYONE WITH CONNER HABIB

So I ask listeners if they’d like to support the show by sharing what they can via patreon.  Give an annual or monthly pledge to

A question – which spins out into many others – that has haunted me for awhile:
Why does anyone actually WANT a computer to become conscious anyway?
What is the desire there, and where is it leading us?
Have we had examples of these sorts of strange desires before?
Why is the “inevitability” of AI constantly posed to us?

To answer all these questions, I asked researcher into both spiritualism and AI, professor and author Simone Natale onto the show.

Simone has written two excellent books, Supernatural Entertainments: Victorian Spiritualism and the Rise of Modern Media Culture and Deceitful Media: Artificial Intelligence and Social Life After the Turing Test.

This is one of my favorite conversations on the topic, and I hope it gets all the gears properly aligned.


For a completely different view of AI, read James Lovelock’s beautiful book, Novacene: The Coming Age of Hyperintelligence. It’s not that I fully agree with Jim’s ideas, but that he presents a much much different vision of what intelligent created beings could be and do than what exists in other, more limited thinkers. I also recommend the episode of AEWCH that I did with James Lovelock – AEWCH 171 – on Gaia and its machine beings.

Simone is also the co-editor of Believing in Bits: Digital Media and the Supernatural – the other editor is AEWCH guest Diana Walsh Pasulka (AEWCH 144 and AEWCH 204). Here’s Simone’s co-authored article “Is AI-generated art really creative? It depends on the presentation”.

Until next time, human friends,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: