What ultimately defines a person? Could a person fall in love with a robot or a computer operating system, as in the popular movie Her?
Could a robot tend patients in hospitals or nursing homes?
Or could a robot, say, teach an ethics or Christian apologetics class?
These seminal questions of existence are what Kevin Staley, associate professor of theology at Southern Evangelical Seminary & Bible College in Matthews, N.C., hopes the Christian school can explore with the help of a humanoid NAO robot (pronounced ‘now’).
Claiming the 22-year-old Christian apologetics school is the first seminary in the world to use a robot to study the ethics of emerging technologies in artificial intelligence, transhumanism and nanotechnology, Southern plans to unveil its NAO robot at a ceremony on Friday (Feb. 14). The robot usually retails for $16,000 but cost Southern $9,300.
The white robot with an orange cap from the French company Aldebaran Robotics stands 23 inches high and includes voice and facial recognition, full mobility and translates text-to-speech in seven languages. Individuals and schools such as MIT, Tokyo University, and Carnegie Mellon and are experimenting with NAO robots as person