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SRF Online Event - February 2023

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Spiritual intelligence from a cognitive and theological perspective: What is it, why does it matter, and could robots ever develop it? with Dr Marius Dorobantu

Date: 7pm, 8th February 2023 Register here.


This workshop will introduce the concept of spiritual intelligence in terms of a natural human ability to take a different perspective on reality rather than a supernatural ability to engage with the transcendent. From a cognitive perspective, spiritual intelligence entails a distinctive way of engaging our mental architecture, with a re-balancing of the two main modes of cognition (rational/experiential, propositional/implicational, etc.). Psychologically, spiritual intelligence is a slower, more relational and participative mode of cognition, which deals not only with problem-solving and pattern recognition but also with discerning the problems worth solving and the patterns worth recognising. Theologically, this definition of spiritual intelligence is more faithful to the Patristic notion of intellectus/nous, which suggests that intelligent participation in the world is necessarily contemplative. Artificial intelligence (AI)’s current incompetency in tasks from the domain of spiritual intelligence might indicate that the latter is a central feature of the human mind and perhaps a crucial ingredient needed for human-level AI.

Speaker Bio

Marius Dorobantu is a lecturer in theology & science at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and a fellow of the ISSR. His doctoral dissertation (at the University of Strasbourg) investigated the potential challenges of human-level AI for the theological understanding of human distinctiveness and the image of God. His current research project – carried out within an interdisciplinary team of psychologists, computer scientists, and theologians – is entitled “Understanding spiritual intelligence: Psychological, theological and computational approaches”.

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