“White Crisis” and/as “Existential Risk”, or The Entangled Apocalypticism of Artificial Intelligence

Ali, Syed Mustafa (2019). “White Crisis” and/as “Existential Risk”, or The Entangled Apocalypticism of Artificial Intelligence. Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, 54(1) pp. 207–224.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/zygo.12498


In this article, I present a critique of Robert Geraci’s Apocalyptic AI discourse, drawing attention to certain shortcomings which become apparent when the analytical lens shifts from religion to the race-religion nexus. Building on earlier work, I explore the phenomenon of Existential Risk associated with Apocalyptic AI in relation to “White Crisis,” a modern racial phenomenon with premodern religious origins. Adopting a critical race theoretical and decolonial perspective, I argue that all three phenomena are entangled and they should be understood as a strategy, albeit perhaps merely rhetorical, for maintaining white hegemony under nonwhite contestation. I further suggest that this claim can be shown to be supported by the disclosure of continuity through change in the long durée entanglement of race and religion associated with the establishment, maintenance, expansion, and refinement of the modern/colonial world system if and when such phenomena are understood as iterative shifts in a programmatic trajectory of domination which might usefully be framed as “algorithmic racism.”

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