What do Goethe’s Faust and AI-Research have in common?

Murat Durmus (CEO @AISOMA_AG)
2 min readApr 22, 2023
What do Goethe’s Faust and AI-Research have in common? — Murat Durmus

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s novel “Faust” is a literary work that deals with the human quest for knowledge and the resulting consequences. It tells the story of a brilliant scholar named Faust, who is dissatisfied with his life and makes a pact with the devil to gain unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. In his quest for knowledge, Faust gets deeper and deeper into moral dilemmas and eventually has to face the consequences of his decisions.

“So then, who dares to say: I grasp you, Matter? Who dares to say: I do not grasp you, Spirit? Yet all urges on to both deny, and the result is…cloudiness.”

AI research strives for knowledge and understanding, especially in developing artificial intelligence to learn, think, and make decisions like humans. However, as with Faust, ethical concerns and potential consequences must be carefully weighed.

“Oh, how hard it is to understand that knowledge is not wisdom! But memory is not intelligence, and every word spoken teaches and does not teach.”

One of the most critical connections between “Faust” and AI research is the theme of the pursuit of knowledge and its potential consequences. Both address the idea that knowledge is a powerful tool that can positively and negatively affect individuals and society. In AI research, there are concerns about the potential misuse of robust AI systems, particularly in areas such as autonomous weapons and surveillance.

“All theory, dear friend, is gray, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.”

“Faust” and AI-Research deal with morality and ethics. Faust faces moral dilemmas in pursuit of his goals, and AI researchers must also confront ethical issues related to the development and use of artificial intelligence systems.

The connection between both highlights the importance of considering the potential consequences of our pursuit of knowledge and ethical considerations in developing advanced technologies.

*The quotes are from “Faust, Part One”


Author of the books “MINDFUL AI — Reflections on Artificial Intelligence” & “A Primer to the 42 Most commonly used Machine Learning Algorithms (With Code Samples)



Murat Durmus (CEO @AISOMA_AG)

CEO & Founder @AISOMA_AG | Author | #ArtificialIntelligence | #CEO | #AI | #AIStrategy | #Leadership | #Philosophy | #AIEthics | (views are my own)