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Bart Barendregt receives Vici grant for research on Artificial Intelligence in Muslim Southeast Asia

Very little is known about the relationship between religion and the digital future. Bart Barendregt, Professor by special appointment Anthropology of Digital Diversity, is about to change that. He receives a Vici grant of 1.5 million euros from the NWO for his research project 'One between the Zeros, an Anthropology of Artificial Intelligence in Islam'. Where Religion and digitalisation coexist, there is room for experiment, but ethical dilemmas emerge. Nowhere is this made more tangible than in the design and use of AI in Muslim Southeast Asia. How do digital religious futures help us reflect on the current digital transition?

Reflecting on the current digital transition

Both religion and technology are commonly looked at through extremes. In the case of AI (Artificial Intelligence), it tends to be done from a Western secular perspective. AI is generally defined as 'technologies with the ability to perform tasks that otherwise require human intelligence. Barendregt: 'Actually, there is no universal definition of AI. What AI is and what AI does are social constructs and this changes significantly depending on time and context. The different ideas and the resulting diverse claims on what the future might look like is the core of our research project.' By looking at the everyday use of AI within Islam from an anthropological perspective and by using innovative research methodology, Barendregt aims to provide better insight into the diverse and complex opinions surrounding artificial intelligence and contribute to the scientific discussions regarding AI.

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