Information Age Prayer Pray-O-Mat
Information Age Prayer is a site that charges you a monthly fee to say prayers for you. A typical charge is $4.95 per month to say three prayers specified by you each day.
We use state of the art text to speech synthesizers to voice each prayer at a volume and speed equivalent to typical person praying. Each prayer is voiced individually, with the name of the subscriber displayed on screen.
Prices, however, are dictated by the length of the prayer. As noted in the Information Age Prayer FAQ "A discounted prayer will cost less than other prayers of similar length."
I'm fascinated by the intersection between religion and technology, as are some of my favorite science fiction writers. For example, if a machine can say a prayer for you, why not have a fully robotic pope and clergy?
(Project Pope by Clifford Simak [cover])
In his 1971 story Good News From The Vatican, writer Robert Silverberg tells the story of a robot cardinal who might one day become pope.
Rabbi Mueller removes his sunglasses... "I can tell you that his Eminency is tall and distinguished, with a fine voice and a gentle smile..."
"But he's mounted on wheels, isn't he?" Kenneth persists.
"On treads," replies the rabbi, giving Kenneth a fiery, devastating look. "Treads, like a tractor has. But I don't think treads are spiritually inferior to feet, or, for that matter, to wheels..."
"Every era gets the Pope it deserves," Bishop Fitzpatrick observed somewhat gloomily today at breakfast. "The proper Pope for our times is a robot, certainly..."
(Read more about Silverberg's robot pope)
In Roger Zelazny's Hugo award-winning 1967 novel Lord of Light, he describes a pray-o-mat:
It was a machine, gleaming and metallic, before which they moved.
A man inserted a coin into the mouth of a steel tiger. The machine began to purr. He pressed buttons cast in the likenesses of animals and demons. There came then a flashing of lights along the lengths of the Nagas, the two holy serpents who twisted about the transparent face of the machine.
The man drew down upon the lever that grew from the side of the machine cast in the likeness of the tail of a fish.
A holy blue light filled the interior of the machine; the serpents pulsed redly; and there, in the midst of the light and a soft music that had begun to play a prayer wheel swung into view and began spinning at a furious pace.
The man wore a beatific expression.
(Read more about Zelazny's pray-o-mat)
Philip K. Dick fans will no doubt insist that I include the empathy box originally introduced in his 1964 story The Little Black Box:
Joan saw a metal box with two handles, attached by a lead of twin-cable wire to the TV set. Ray seized the two handles, and at once a grimace of pain shot across his face...
"This is the empathy box, my dear... when you take hold of these handles you're no longer watching Wilbur Mercer. You're actually participating in his apotheosis. Why, you're feeling what he feels."
(Read more about Dick's empathy box)
I should also note that one of the manifestations of Number Six in the most recent incarnation of Battlestar Galactica is very religious. "Head-Six" (or "inner six") often tries to get Baltar to believe in the Cylong God and to accept his place in God's plan.
(Baltar and Six)
Bow your head and click, that you might see these stories more clearly:
Read more at the Information Age Prayer site and the Information Age Prayer FAQ. Thanks to Moira for pointing this one out.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/22/2009)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 4 )
Related News Stories -
We Could Downgrade Puerto Rico - And Thereby Save It
'It was cheaper to pay the refugees to go without up-to-the-minute equipment.' - John Brunner, 1976.
The Neuroon Open Sleep Tracker For Lucid Dreaming
'Leads trail away from insertion points on her face and wrist... to a lucid dreamer on the bedside shelf.' - Peter Watts, 1999.
'Do Not Pay' Chatbots To Replace Law Firm Associates?
'I want my lawyer program.' - David Brin, 1990.
Translate One2One From IBM's Watson Your Communication Solution
'It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix...' - Douglas Adams, 1979.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Made In Space To Manufacture Optical Fiber In Orbit
'Mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'
Dune Fans! Power Your Devices With Sweaty Shirts
Yet another power source from humans.
Orwell's Memory Hole Looms Larger Thanks To Nvidia
'All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.'
Pipefish Robot Checks Pipes Cheap
Just like capsule endoscopy, but for bigger pipes. That go underground.
Nifty New SDS Space Debris Sensor For ISS
'Their radars... could easily pinpoint the debris of the early Space Age.'
NanoRacks Space Station Module Concept Validated
Space junk into space architecture.
Nuclear Drones Could Fly For Years
'I sent my eyes on their rounds and tended my gallery of one hundred-thirty changing pictures...'
SciFiQ Science Fiction Writing Aid
'Books were just a commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces.'
Robot Only Faster, Not Better, At Recycling
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off... it puts whatever it is in the hopper outside your window.'
Poland Starts With 1000 Warmate 'Suicide Drones'
'Royal Security had told the pods to electrocute you or blast you into chum.'
Dream Of Building Your Own Rocket?
Fiorello Bodoni, you inspire all of us.
Zero Mass 'Vaporators' Pull Drinking Water From The Air
Did you think of Star Wars?
Elon Musk Fears A 'Fleet-Wide Hack' Of Autonomous Vehicles
'Khan grinned. 'It's alive! Bu-wahhahahah!''
China Melts Tibetan Permafrost To Plant Forest
'Can you give us a microwave spotlight?'
iFlytek Doctor Robot First To Pass Medical Exams
Doctor shortage? No problem, we'll just use the autodoc.
Slaughterbot AI KIller Quadcopter Drones
'The real border was defended by... a swarm of quasi-independent aerostats.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories