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Pope Robot
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(+13, -11)
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Preprogammed, Upgradable and Rechargable. Discuss
thumbwax, May 18 2001

(???) RoboPope cartoons http://www.angelfir...y/Kisa/Cartoon.html
"Hey Ladies, wanna see my papal staf?" (sic) [jutta, May 18 2001]

(?) Silverberg: Good News from the Vatican (1971) http://owmyhead.com...fromthevatican.html
Science fiction short story about a robotic pope. [jutta, May 18 2001]

(?) Catholic Church and Condoms http://www.theage.c...10/FFXJAJO4XOC.html
The Church in Africa is to consider backing the use of condoms to fight AIDS... [sdm, May 18 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]

(?) Accion Mutante http://www.penrithc...ck/liz_am_print.htm
Quote: "We don't want to smell good & we don't want to lose weight". Also features, in passing, a robot minister. [DrBob, May 18 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Sam Kinison's 'Have You Seen Me Lately?' album http://www.buy.com/...0&loc=13169&rp=true
Disc 1, track 4 [phoenix, May 28 2002, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Clifford Simak's Project Pope http://search.yahoo...t&toggle=1&ei=UTF-8
Exactly this idea: A robotic pope! (Baked, this idea is!) [DesertFox, Feb 08 2005]

The church of Robotology http://www.gotfutur.../Grabs/pic00270.jpg
Like this? [wagster, Feb 15 2005]


       As popes are for life this one would be pope until it needed an upgrade. Programming it would be fun though as believers would think it was infalible - and therefore free of bugs in all situations.
Aristotle, May 18 2001

       [PeterSealy]: That's only fun for *non*-Catholics.
angel, May 18 2001

       Catholicism is by nature inherently contradictory. Wouldn't a RoboPope just hang trying to deal with all the errors?
mcscotland, May 18 2001

       Presumably it would be programmed in Holy C?
mark_t, May 18 2001

       Soterios: Douglas Adams had mention of an electric monk in his book Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.
FakeGreenDress, May 19 2001

       I see all the hate-filled anti-religion bigots lining up on this one. Did your parents hit you guys too much as kids?
lumpy, Aug 30 2001

       Let's not take this on to two fronts, eh?
-alx, Aug 30 2001

       This idea is about as probable to be accepted by catholics as installing condom dispensers in the vatican.
kaz, Aug 30 2001

       Perhaps this would bring about a kind of ecclesiastcal arms race. In six months time, you might see Roboarchbishopofcanterbury 2.0. Scarier and scarier.
March Hare, Aug 30 2001

       I think the greater sin (around here, at least) was using the word 'discuss' at the end of that idea... kaz: don't be so sure about that. [see link]
sdm, Aug 30 2001

       I think that the idea of reducing Christ, or the Vicar of Christ, the Pope, to a man made machine is perfectly in line with the present self centered, I want it my way, techno age in which we are all living. The idea that a man made Robot could be a source of grace to mankind is absurd. It brings to mind the familiar imagery of the Israelites as they busily constructed their Golden Calf. You have God on the one hand, trying to help his poor people, and the poor people busy trying to help themselves. That the present self help program involves robotic images of the Vicar of Christ is a crude analog to the thought an actions of a distant but similarly rebellious and Godless age.
ejclimer, Aug 31 2001

       Hey, don't leave out us hate-filled ambi-religious bigots.
-alx, Aug 31 2001

       Just as a footnote: Clifford D. Simak's novel "Project Pope" (ca. 1975, Ballantine Books) explored this question from the viewpoint of a robot chosen to be Pope in a post-nuclear-war world. Like Asimov's original "The Bicentennial Man," Simak's story can be read as an allegory of a creature caught between its apparently mechanistic origins and an ethical mandate.   

       [for UnaBubba]: I like the "obvious" joke about the mechanical bull (O brother Daedalus, where art thou?) -- in part because a librarian I've known for years assures me that the mechanical distribution of papal communication has established precedent: Apparently Gutenberg's printing press attained its first major marketplace success as a way to catch up on the backlog of papal indulgences, which were sold (and then printed) by the hundreds of thousands to help fund the Inquisition. Whether bulls were similarly disseminated (sic), I don't know, but it does raise a question: Assuming that a robopope's ministry would be based on an algorithm that generated only those responses that were consistent with established doctrine, presumably it would run out of permutations in a relatively short time (say, a century) unless it also had a subroutine for establishing new doctrines. Since we can't yet build an expert system that passes Turing's test (probably a minimum requirement for a robopope), any brass-tacks discussion of how to do such a project recedes well into the future, and (I'm guessing here) becomes less probable as we approach any real capacity to do it.   

       So, in addition to the alarums and excursions triggered by the original idea, I see one large (if implicit) question in this discussion: "Which matters more -- consistent doctrine or consistent compassion, and must they be mutually exclusive?"
whatsbruin, Sep 10 2001

       i have an erie image in my mind of the robopope in his robes clicking around the living room and the very thought makes me think,   

       why not?   

       this probably pretty straight edge (if you're like.. native or something), but if you really get down to it, the pope is not a very good image of grace anyway since he's the leader of that wild bunch of heathenish fanatics who are out to destroy the world and escape all the blame   


       it would make sense to make a roboPope because there could be like a real army of Popes and they could just take care of all that nasty destruction and conquering first hand, you know, fast, painless brainwashing, at-will-blessings of entire audiences of newlydeds, and just think, your own pope to say grace at dinnertime, no hemming and hawing anymore.. and whatever your indulgence needs are, just hack him a little and reprogram.. so many problems solved with just one little iconoclastic robot.. speaking of which - manufacture in the phillipines or mexico.. discuss..
nonox, Sep 11 2001

       [nonox] (no no straight edge?):   

       The Catholics I know aren't very fanatical, but maybe that's got something to do with Australiana more than anything else. Back when I used to go to Church, I can remember people whipping out the paper to have a read while the priest went through the formalities. My father still times the homilies (sermons) with a stop watch and compares various priests from week to week.   

       It's interesting what you said about the Philippines. I live in an area where, because of immigration policy and the like, a disproportionate amount of Filipinos have settled. Because to them, the Church here is nothing like the church back home, the fundamentalist element is having a field day. It wasn't uncommon for my friends to disappear from school for a couple of days to go to various "Youth For Christ" camps to be reprogrammed, err, I mean, celebrate stuff.
sdm, Sep 11 2001

       One should of course balance this up, I feel, with a Mechayatollah and a whole host of Cyberabbi. As for the atheists, we could always retrofit Stephen Hawkings' wheelchair and turn him into our very own Davros.
Guy Fox, Sep 11 2001

       I wonder how many people actually read A Brief History of Time. I appreciate that Hawkings tried to make a number of complex concepts in Physics easy to read, but I could still only manage to get the gist of it... When people get cornered in a theological debate, I reckon they just use A Brief History as a defense because they know only physics buffs will be able to rebut.
sdm, Sep 11 2001

       The excellent film Accion Mutante had a wedding ceremony featuring a robot minister. Does that count? (link provided).
DrBob, Sep 11 2001

       What if you just extracted the pope's brain and built a robot around it? Would it still have slurred speech?
RayfordSteele, May 28 2002

       I can see it now. A King Henry type programming his own OS and declaring a new format. Followed by 200 years of argument.
thelumberjack, May 29 2002

       THis is a ripoff of Woody Allen's movie, Sleeper, where he gets absolved by a priest machine. (Quite funny, actually) Isaac Asimov also used this idea for a robotic Catholic Saint in a short story that I do not remember. He also had alternative stories of a robotic President of the US.
InsanityKlaus, Sep 19 2003

       Baked by some sci-fi writer Clifford something or other. Or something Clifford. I don't remeber who, but the book was exactly about this; I didn't read it, I just remember seeing it.   

       Clifford Simak - Project Pope! (good memory at work!)
DesertFox, Feb 08 2005

       I recalled this robo pope posting watching him/it on the telly last night - im sure i could see strings moving his hands up and down.
benfrost, Feb 08 2005

       Is the Space Pope reptilian?
Acme, Feb 09 2005

       is the Pope a Catholic?
benfrost, Feb 09 2005

       He died.
bristolz, Apr 02 2005

       It's too bad that first link of [jutta]'s doesn't work, there was also a comic of Sonny Bono's corpse fighting crime that made me laugh so hard I had to kill someone to balance it out.
AfroAssault, Apr 02 2005

       coming out in 2012, the scientologist version: RoboTomCruise!
neo_, Nov 28 2009

       I think a robotic pope may get hacked if ever plugged into the Internet and say crazy things like "There are many ways to heaven." And "Islam is a religion of peace." IF the current pope says such things then he is a Liar Liar pants on Fire. Yes the pope would be going to HELL!
travbm, Oct 29 2015

       Cf the story "JUDAS" by John Brunner (I think it's in one of the DANGEROUS VISIONS anthologies)
smendler, Feb 28 2016

       We all seem to be assuming that this has not already been done.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 28 2016

       Is there a Trumpbot? - imagines a brainless sack of flabby lard with a comb-over, blindly slithering around on the floor like a malfunctioning 'bump-and-go" wind up toy, bouncing off the walls, but also knocking vulnerable stuff over, and repeating the mantra: Oh Wow! Oh Wow! Oh Wow!
xenzag, Feb 28 2016

       It would be interesting to see what happens when we tell [xenzag] that Donald Trump is a vegetarian. I imagine it would be the mental equivalent of strapping buttered toast to the back of a cat.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 28 2016


       <Godwin's Law Disclaimer>   

       Fact: Adolf Hitler was also a teetotal vegetarian.   

       </Godwin's Law Disclaimer>   

       // a brainless sack of flabby lard with a comb-over, //   

       Baked. John Prescott.
8th of 7, Feb 29 2016

       We'll know this one's been baked when the smoke is neither black nor white but blue.
pertinax, Mar 02 2016


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