Robert M. Geraci is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Manhattan College. In his new book Apocalyptic AI: Visions of Heaven in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality, he examines the “cyber-theology” which suggests we might one day upload our minds into robots or cyberspace and live forever. Drawing on interviews with roboticists, AI researchers, Second Life devotees, and others, Geraci reveals that the idea of Apocalyptic AI is strikingly similar to Judeo-Christian apocalyptic traditions. Here, he shares 10 ways World of Warcraft, one virtual reality game, could help us survive the end of the world as we know it.
1. The dangers will be minimal…level 80 priests can provide universal health care.
President Obama plans to insure 32 million more Americans than are currently protected; but the area of effect healing spells of priests can jump from one person to another, healing them as they become sick and injured without need for hospital visits, insurance payments, etc. This approach to medical treatment has obvious benefits over the constant paperwork that federally mandated insurance will require.
2. When aliens come to take over the planet, they’ll get addicted to WoW and forget what they were doing.
Instead of world domination, aliens will hope to complete all four daily cooking quests for The Rokk. After they’ve already eaten Emeril, they’ll spice up their life with Super Hot Stew and realize that people don’t taste all that good after all.
3. Who needs indoor plumbing? You’re already used to peeing into bottles.
Your guild’s “friendly” three day race to level 80 has given you all the continence you need…and the willingness to do what you must when the time comes.
4. After countless hours of farming for minerals, herbs and animal hides, you’re well prepared for life after subprime mortgages collapse the economy.
Let’s face it, the economy is in shambles and no one knows when it will recover. On the other hand, while toxic mortgage securities provide neither housing nor security, a proper skinner can ensure that all the local children stay warm through the winter.
5. Gnomish engineers will program the robots to like you (though they can’t guarantee proper functioning).
It’s not the Gnomes’ fault that Skynet became self-aware…they didn’t think it would defend that off switch so vociferously! And to compensate, they’ll happily upload your mind into one of their inventions so that you can join the robots in their post-apocalyptic future.
6. As the value of the dollar declines, gold and mithril will remain safe investments.
Gold will shine through the darkest of times and foreign governments will always be content to buy it from you at the auction house.
7. Your family pet can take aggro for you while you lay a fire trap to destroy a zombie mob.
A lifetime of treats and petting repaid in one priceless moment.
8. Your potions of underwater breathing will let you grab the apartment you’ve always wanted.
Climate change is melting the polar ice caps, which will soon drown Manhattan. The Upper West Side is ripe for the picking!
9. There’s life after WoW.
Like Sarah Palin, shamans can resurrect themselves after the apocalypse…unlike the former Vice-Presidential candidate, they can also resurrect you.
10. Playing WoW, you’ll lose track of the time and not even realize that 2012 has come…until 2013.
Do you have another tip for survival? Tell us about it!