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University public lecture asks if robots need religion

Prof Graeme Smith’s lecture will ask what role religion plays in the modern age


THE 21st-century is turning out to be religious - although not in any conventional sense, according to a University of Chichester lecturer who is hosting an inaugural lecture next month.

Graeme Smith, Professor of Public Theology, will addresses the issues of what religion is today, under the title: Do robots need religion? Richard Rorty, language and the future of theology.

Prof Smith’s lecture will cover topics such as the function religion plays in the modern age, what the theologian can say about new forms and types of religious belief and, in the age of artificial intelligence (AI), what will be the faith of the robots?

He said: “In my lecture I will take the ideas of American pragmatist philosopher Richard Rorty and analyse what this new religious identity looks like in everyday life.

“I will explore the idea that we have reached the end of the era of personal belief, and ask what the future will hold for religion against a backdrop of rapid technological advancement. How do theologians think about religion in an age where the future is so uncertain, how will ethics be different in an age of AI, and what will be the faith of the robots?”

The lecture is part of the University of Chichester’s public series taking place in the Mitre Lecture Theatre, University of Chichester Bishop Otter Campus, on Tuesday 7 May from 6pm.

Car parking on campus is free of charge after 5pm and refreshments will be available from 5:30pm.

Attendance at the lecture is free of charge although it is advisable to book a place by visiting For more about Professor Graeme Smith and his work at the University of Chichester go to