AI and the Future of Spirituality

By Daniel Goldsmith
Cohort 2021-2022

As I contemplated this topic, the path that unfolded before me was not at all linear. What started as a question, “Could AI help me get enlightened?” lead me first into a philosophical inquiry into what exactly we mean by “artificial” and “intelligence.” From this, I ventured back to the Greek myth of Prometheus, tracing humanity’s dis-ease with relying on something external to ourselves for our survival. I then went down numerous rabbit holes, investigating how the latest US military technology might help us meditate (and if the Buddha would be cool with that) to contemplating whether our “failure” to produce Artificial General Intelligence could actually be a great success. I concluded that, in terms of AI’s ever-increasing encroachment into our lives, an important avenue for our future spiritual development will be to develop (or re-discover) rituals that cultivate our sense of wonder and awe, as well as finding a way to valorize our feelings of fear and powerlessness. I invite you and/or your students to help conceive of just what these rituals might be.

I found it challenging to synthesize these sprawling thoughts into a coherent text, so instead, I opted to depict my journey visually, using a Miro Board:

Screen Shot 2022-05-25 at 10.21.01 AM


I would love to take you on a tour of these ideas. You can join me here:


From this video above, you’ll see links to branch off into more detailed explanation of a few important subjects. You can also access those directly here:



Finally, here is a list of some stellar resources you might wish to consult:

  • Harari, Yuval Noah. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. United States, McClelland & Stewart, 2016.
  • Hongladarom, Soraj. The Ethics of AI and Robotics: A Buddhist Viewpoint. Rowman & Littlefield, 2020.
  • Hughes, James J. “Buddhism and Our Posthuman Future.” Sophia, vol. 58, no. 4, 2018, pp. 653–662.,
  • Hughes, James. “Using neurotechnologies to develop virtues: a Buddhist approach to cognitive enhancement.” Accountability in research vol. 20,1 (2013): 27-41. doi:10.1080/08989621.2013.749744
  • Loy, David. “Remaking Ourselves: A Buddhist perspective on Biotechnology.”  Made Not Born: The Troubling World of Biotechnology. Sierra Club Books, 2000.
  • Mayor, Adrienne. Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2019

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas!