Theological Determinism to Technological Determinism: The Secularization of Eschatological Narratives

Umbrello, S. (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationTalk or presentation at a conference


There exists an enduring legacy of both utopian and eschatological narratives in the history of human storytelling. Most of the stories have a theological foundation from which they gain both a platform for distribution as well as credibility. The humanist tradition has been responsible for many of these eschatological tales, and it has also been responsible for their most recent transformation, more specifically secularization, on account of the naturalistic inclinations of contemporary humanism. Narratives within the transhumanist and technological determinist schools have appropriated the tradition of eschatology and secularized it by basing new stories on the speculations of future technologies, particularly artificial intelligence, molecular nanotechnology, and biotechnologies. As a result, the technologically deterministic basis of eschatological tales has led to a cynical defeatism that has failed to take precautionary policy measures in developing safe future technologies. This urge to surrender must be resisted in favor of an exploration of values and how those can lead to beneficial outcomes. This paper explores these issues and attempts to provide a preliminary springboard from which to resist narratives of deterministic eschatology.
Period3 Mar 20184 Mar 2018
Event titleNESTS - Northeast Science and Technology Studies Conference
Event typeConference
LocationIthaca, United States, New York
Degree of RecognitionInternational