The analysis. Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam bent to Artificial Intelligence

Michelangelo's Creation of Adam bent to Artificial Intelligence

What mystical essence will contain the Creation of Adam frescoed on the vault of the Sistine Chapel to release its dose of symbolic power to each generation? In the 1990s, redundantly launched by President Bush as “the decade of the brain” for the impulse provided to neuroscience, the interpretation that the reddish mantle that forms the background of the figure of the Father Creator has the exact profile of the section circulated with great clamor. sagittal of a human brain, complete with detail of the frontal lobe, the gyrus of the cingulate, the pituitary gland and so on. Frank L. Meshberger’s 1990 article, which launched the suggestion, seemed to have changed the perception of the work forever.

Subsequently, however, in the midst of the explosion of assisted fertilization and similar researches, from the intuition of a group of Italian doctors, the hypothesis emerges that the mantle from which God the Creator stands out is, in reality, the figuration of a post-partum uterus with all its distinct apparatus, where the brainstem of the previous interpretation, that is the green drapery fluttering downwards, becomes the design of the umbilical cord. All much more in line, it was considered, with the title of the work.

Today, in an era in which humanity listens, kidnapped and open-mouthed, to the myth of omnipotent and saving artificial intelligence, which icon stands out, irrepressibly, on books or blogs that deal more or less with the subject? There is no way not to have seen it: it is the detail of the two hands of the Creation approaching, where one of the two, however, has science fiction transformed into a robotic hand.

A memetic remix is ​​called jargon. The Turkish-Hawaiian artist Serife Wong, in Faith and Trust, paid homage to the versatility of this pervasive techno-Michelangelo effigy with a collage of dozens and dozens of variants unearthed in the course of his research on technological ethics agencies around the world. The visual impact is of great effect. Cambridge anthropologist Beth Singler even devotes an intense study to The meme of the Creation of artificial intelligence (2020), a comparative analysis of 79 versions of the logo among the hundreds found in technology, e-commerce, IT consulting sites … The place of honor belongs to the nomination document of the high-level expert group on artificial intelligence by the European Commission in 2019: on the cover of the act it is always Michelangelo’s variant that stands out against the background of ethereal “digital blue” graphics, the chromatic solution of our future living environment, just as natural green was the frame of eras now remote.

The author tries to decipher the phenomenon. Is this just a case of “mediatization of religion”, according to the theory of H. Jarvald, with which the directors of communication try to reduce the sacred to a source of entertainment, exorcising its numinous and disturbing heart? Or, as the philosopher J. Josephson-Storm suggests in his The myth of disenchantment (2017), has the paradigm of disenchantment in the world of Weberian memory been overestimated and from every hole in our society, only nominally non-believers, shoots of spirituality spring up, necessarily adapted to the forms of current culture? Or is it perhaps a further trait of Promethean arrogance, or, why not, a kind of prayer and invocation of a New Creation?

Much depends on the position of the robotic limb in its thousand variations. When, in fact, it replaces the hand of the Creator, the suspicion that artificial intelligence has assumed, in the collective imagination, the place of God does not even creep so much. If, however, it takes the position of the creature, then to whom it belongs the hand from which the vital spark springs? Perhaps to the human being who plays at being God, or – very suggestive theological interpretation – even to the same God the Father who, through the mediation of the human co-creator, also adopts the whole family of androids, cyborgs, holograms among his creatures. and technological figures to come, what tools for the fulfillment of his providential plan?

Neuroscience, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence: while technosciences pass the baton full of promises and hopes, the characters of Creation of Adam, from the top of the Vatican Museums, they seem to be watching, unperturbed, generations of human beings intent on their “objecentrism”. By giving them, century after century, that symbolic magnificence that only similar works of art can inexhaustibly emanate.

The analysis. Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam bent to Artificial Intelligence