Taming Technology And Religions Affect On Such Acceptance


According to Kaplan, F. during the Meiji Period of 1868 – 1912, in order to defend itself from international threats to Japanese culture, the political and social attitudes developed a defensive emphasis on the acquisition of complete knowledge on foreign technologies that would ultimately threaten Japanese interests. This is what we can define as taming technology, as illustrated below by Kaplan:

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 12.44.17 pm
Kaplan, R. illustrates an example of acceptance through Pokemon, an international pop-culture founded in Japan, applying the ‘taming’ of a foreign technology. Thus technology is associated with the harmonisation of the Japanese community. Moreover societies across the history have tamed wild ‘technologies,’ being that of animals, to perform labor for human interests. Thus the concept of foreign technologies is not entirely new to western society. Bearing in mind the protestant work ethic discussed in previous blogs (that a successful life is correlated with prudence and work effort (Westby, D. 1997)), and how that may impact the integration of robots into society – is there a difference between the application of animal ‘technology’ and newer robotic technology to help human achievement.

However dissonance between western religion and technology has basis, with the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:4-9 illustrating the desire for humanity to go beyond capabilities and constructing a tower to reach the heavens through a unified language. Thus God strikes down and scatters humanity through the creation of diversified languages, inhibiting construction. Resulting as a warning for overreaching technologies (Love, D. 2015). Contrast to Japanese unification of technology, western Abrahamic religions apply a level of negativity of humanity developing a singularity through technology, instead we have God ‘taming’ us.


“Company History”. ポケットモンスターオフィシャルサイト. The Pokémon Company. Viewed 02.05.16 <http://www.pokemon.co.jp/corporate/en/history/>

Kaplan, F. (Unknown Year) Who is afraid of the humanoid? Investigating cultural differences in the acceptation of robots. Sony Computer Science Laboratory. Paris, France. Viewed 02.05.16 <http://www.itu.dk/people/britt/DDKS/EKSAMEN/jap_roboculture.pdf>

Love, D. (2015) Artificial intelligence will make religion obsolete within our lifetime, Daily Dot, viewed 02.05.16 <http://www.dailydot.com/lifestyle/superintelligence-meets-religion/>

Wesby, D. (1997) Protestant Ethic, viewed 02.05.16<http://mb-soft.com/believe/txn/protesta.htm>

2 thoughts on “Taming Technology And Religions Affect On Such Acceptance”

  1. Hey thanks for your post, it’s a very interesting topic and it’s hard to cover because there are so many factors.
    I do agree that some of the inertia towards technology stems from Abrahamic religions but I think it’s more to do with a fear of us playing the role of God (such as in Frankenstein) rather than a pure fear of technology and human advancement.
    Genesis 1:28 says “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” God says subdue the Earth so he is definitely willing and planning on humans advancing and going to town on the Earth so to speak.
    And I think the example of Babel is a bit misdirected because I think that the tower of Babel was more to do with people trying to reach heaven. If they were just trying to build a huge tower I feel like that would of fallen under God’s plan for humans “subduing the Earth”. But instead they were trying to reach heaven and trying to put themselves on the same level as God which is a constant theme in the Bible from the fall of man in Genesis to Jesus’ sermons in the new testament.

    Also you asked the question “is there a difference between the application of animal ‘technology’ and newer robotic technology to help human achievement?” I vote yes there is. There is a limit to what we can do with taming and using animals but technology has this Frankensteiny element which raises concerns of hostile, super AI (which smart people like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawkings are scared of).

    I look forward to reading more!


  2. This is an extremely interesting topic! I do slightly disagree that in Australia in 2016 religion is getting in the way of technological advancement. I believe that fear of technology and playing God was something that came through the industrial revolution. Christians, like myself believe that God knows all, so ultimately God knows everything that we are going to invent and create and when it is going to happen. However in other cultures I can understand how religious understandings like your Japanese diagram example could stop unmastered technologies being mastered.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s