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Every group wants a God in their own image. Most people don't take much effort to understand the world, and they make a God who responds to that by playing ineffable.

But geeks do want to know and understand the world, in all its intricacies. It's not surprising that a God of blessed miracles and "don't mess with it" turns us off.

But what of a God made in our own image? A God who goes round saying "d00dz, I rule. Evolution? I thought that one up. DNA? Cool huh? So simple but so flexible. Space? You like it? One of mine. Me, I fine tuned 30 odd parameters for the universe so that it self-organizes itself into physical matter and energy, galaxies, stars, planets, sub-atomic particles, chemicals, cells, multi-cells, plants, animals. Sex? Who hardwired you to be able to enjoy it? You think I don't know? I had to sketch out every permutation that can give you pleasure

That kind of God we might get behind.


ConorWhiteSullivan thread feeling towards a Geek God.

Quora Answer : What becomes of our stigmata martyrs when the gods we create and destroy are no longer made in our own image, but in the image of our own creations?

Apr 9, 2014

"The Singularity" has been likened to one kind of religion. People have a sort of irrational belief in this moment when computers become "smarter" than us and "everything becomes unpredictable".

William Gibson's "Neuromancer" trilogy ends when the powerful "Artificial Intelligences" that have been guiding the humans in the story fragment and become indistinguishable from Voodoo Loas. (Or something like that.)

Even now we're increasingly using mystical and religious terminology for technology.

Here's a quote from the Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs :

We are about to study the idea of a computational process. Computational processes are abstract beings that inhabit computers. As they evolve, processes manipulate other abstract things called data. The evolution of a process is directed by a pattern of rules called a program. People create programs to direct processes. In effect, we conjure the spirits of the computer with our spells.

MikeKuniavsky explains : Partial Bibliography of Magic in User Experience Design

I track bits and pieces of this stuff : Composing: magic

The bottom line is that ever since humans invented language and storytelling they've been fantasizing that language and storytelling might have real power in the world. What if stories become sentient? (Gods). What if words alone could create actions and things? (Magic spells). What if ordinary objects could be vested with such powers? (Cauldrons, broomsticks, magic rings etc.)

And now, suddenly, in the age of advanced automation, we're configuring our world around these fantasies. Computer programming IS just using words to create actions. And, increasingly, words to create things.

We call long running processes on Unix "daemons". We learn the right incantations of the APIs to Facebook and Google and Twitter so that we might ask for their favour. We worship them while, increasingly, fearing their wroth.

We have magic books and magic slates in our pockets on which we can read and write anything and which allow us to talk across the world. We're building an internet of things in which all our everyday objects will be enchanted.

We are making the world of advanced automation in the image of that ancient fantasy of a potent language.

I'm not sure, yet, I'm seeing stigmata gods or "god-as-sacrifice". Maybe it's coming. Maybe I haven't noticed it yet. There are certain video-game characters that we ritually slaughter. Certain large corporations we hate-on. (Is Microsoft our "devil"?) But I'm not sure we've got sacrificial gods yet.

See also :