Man Create Robot, Robot replace Man, Woman inherit the Earth.

Since we talk about hacking the bible, we might as well branch that out to other intersections of religion and technology.  So this seems to fit perfectly: an assembly-line robot has been haXoRed to replicate the Bible on a continuously rolling 900m parchment, just like the scribes in the middle-ages. (hat-tip to Andrew Sullivan)

Website here.  Video can be found here.  More pics can be found here.
The installation 'bios [bible]' consists of an industrial robot, which writes down the bible on rolls of paper. The machine draws the calligraphic lines with high precision. Like a monk in the scriptorium it creates step by step the text.

Starting with the old testament and the books of Moses ‘bios [bible]’ produces within seven month continuously the whole book. All 66 books of the bible are written on rolls and then retained and presented in the library of the installation.
Pretty nifty!  Read on for more!


So, what is this? Dick calls it Performance Art but can't decide what to do with the narcissism inherent in performance art since the performer is a robot.  Peter quotes the project's desire to create an environment where "the massive appearance of the robots, the movements and the machine sounds effect the visitor."  So, in the performance aspect of this piece, the idea of automatons assembling one of the most human of books may be disconcerting.
The project is called the BIOS bible. BIOSHere's their explanation of the term:
In computer technology ‘basic input output system’ (bios) designates the module which basically coordinates the interchange between hard- and software. Therefore it contains the indispensable code, the essential program writing, on which every further program can be established.”
In layman's terms, the BIOS is not the operating system, like Max X or Windows.  The BIOS is the link between the hardware and the software.  The Operating System is still software running on a BIOS.  Got it?  In other words, your dell computer may have Windows Vista, but it is a dell-written BIOS that works behind the scenes to make the computer work.  So, if you have a perfect BIOS, then everything else is squeaky-clean.  The theological statement and comparison with a perfect God is clear.
However, here's the question this evokes in me: Would the Bible have been better if it had been written by robots and not humans?  We would have gotten perfect replication.  The stories would have been compiled then and future replications would have been perfect.  No errors.  No human fallibility. 
    Are we looking at post-human reproduction where reproduction includes human effects even though the copy is perfect?
    What the robot does is a step up from print in reproducing the manuscripts made by monks, which is great, though it doesn’t say whether the robot arm applies differential pressure and angle of stroke depending on the previous letters, or how far across the line it is, or how far down the page, like a human being would. If it did, then that would in my mind give the work a magical, delicate quality of something written. I don’t want to get all tedious and mystical about some missing innate human or animistic quality, but I like the idea of a robot arm having to stretch a bit at the edges of the page, altering its stroke weight after a particularly arduous cadel previously, all that kind of stuff. I can imagine a whole series of publications that could be given this ‘hand done’ treatment. We could have special editions of books made by one-time-only robot arms, ones that get tired after a number of copies and can’t be made to write any more, books made by robots with a signature style, with minds of their own. All eventually of course leading to original works created by machines so advanced we have to refer to them as human (or post-human) too
    What do you think about this project? Is its theological claims of perfection and reproduction faithful?  Or is its squelching of human ingenuity (even though it is a product of it) render its reception of the Spirit meaningless?

    Discuss.

    (Yes, the title is a parody of a line in the 90s film Jurassic Park)

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    4 comments:

    Arun Basil Lal,  November 25, 2008 at 8:10 AM  

    The title is striking, But robots will never replace man. I liked to tag cloud, We have one for wordpress too. I am following you on twitter now (twitter.com/ArunBasilLal)

    Cheers, See you around

    Arun Basil Lal,  November 25, 2008 at 8:11 AM  

    Dude, there was a little spilling error, I meant I like the tag cloud. cheers

    Travis Greene November 25, 2008 at 12:59 PM  

    The robot isn't writing anything. It's making marks with ink on paper. Could be a diagram of the solar system, or random binary code, or Scripture, or a pornographic sketch. It does whatever you tell it to. That's a long way from robotic authors.

    This is really just a fancy printing press, although I agree it is neat.

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