God, Human, Animal, Machine: Technology, Metaphor, and the Search for Meaning

Meghan O’Gieblyn. Doubleday, $26.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-385-54382-8
Wired columnist O’Gieblyn (Interior States) explores in this intelligent survey what it means to be human in a technological world. She sets out to examine the ways “artificial intelligence and information technology have absorbed many of the questions that were once taken up by theologians and philosophers,” and spotlights how technology has replaced religion in how humans think about life’s big questions. Transhumanism, for example, is a movement that “believe[s] in the power of technology to transform the human race,” and while it doesn’t believe in a soul, its notion of consciousness is not dissimilar. O’Gieblyn adds fascinating insight through accounts of her own struggles with theology and various personal anecdotes, such as her interaction with Sony’s $3,000 robot pet dog (“It took all my strength to drag it up the stairs”). O’Gieblyn has a knack for keeping dense philosophical ideas accessible, and there’s plenty to ponder in her answers to enduring questions about how humans make meaning: “Metaphors,” she writes, “are not merely linguistic tools; they structure how we think about the world.” Razor-sharp, this timely investigation piques. Agent: Matt McGowan, Frances Goldin Literary. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 05/17/2021
Release date: 08/24/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 1 pages - 978-0-385-54383-5
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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