For a Human-Centered AI

Religion and Video Games. ISR Workshop on religion and innovation.

February 26, 2018

On February 6, at the Center for Religious Studies, has taken place a workshop dedicated to the little explored theme of the relationship between religions and video games

In line with its mission, FBK’s Centre for Religious Studies, proposes a series of workshops and conferences on the relationship between religion and innovation for 2018. The second workshop of this series, dedicated to the little explored theme of the relationship between religions and video games, ended on February 6th.

The event was attended not only by researchers and scholars in semiotics, philosophy and the humanities, but also by entrepreneurs and video game designers, as well as by FBK researchers in the field of technology:  in particular, the researcher Paul Chippendale, from the TeV unit (Technologies of Vision), who introduced the REPLICATE RELIGION research, an experimental investigation undertaken in collaboration between the two research centres TeV and ISR, on the virtualization of religious and cult objects. In the presentation, emerging technologies such as REPLICATE have been used in the field of sacred, religious and spirituality, through real field investigations among different religious communities, to understand whether and how cult objects change once they are transported from a physical environment to a virtual one and what transformations in the way and manifestation of belief could be expected in a not very distant future in which this type of technologies will be usable everywhere and by anyone.

The semiologists Vincenzo Idone Cassone and Mattia Thibaut have focused on how the process of establishing belief is placed in a similar way to the religious one; the engineer and entrepreneur Marco Mazzaglia showed in his presentation the different ways of speaking, representing, teaching or transmitting the divine in videogame design, while to shed light on the theory of study of religions and videogames, the professor of the University of Bremen Kerstin Radde Antweiler spoke of negotiation processes between the player, the designer and the wider social context of the videogame. Finally, the scholar Tobias Knoll has pointed out how religion creates narrative coherence in video games, in the same way that it happens in other spheres of communication — for example in narrative or cinema — and how it constitutes a scale of values in which players can recognize themselves or can ignore them.