Many think we are living in the the early stages of the fourth Industrial Revolution – powered not by steam but by digital innovation, from the Internet of Things to Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI). How can we ensure that our contributions to this exciting journey are positive and reflect God’s glory? As followers of Jesus, knowing that we are created in the image of God, we have a distinctive perspective we can bring to these challenges, and are well-placed to take a lead in both thought and practice surrounding ethical technology-enabled innovation.
In Silicon Valley, Christians are widely sneered at, and must show real courage to ‘come out’ as public advocates for their faith. While there is much discussion about technology ethics and regulation, there’s little consensus around what it means or what action we should take. As followers of Jesus, knowing that we are created in the image of God, we have a distinctive perspective we can bring to these challenges, and are well-placed to take a lead in both thought and practice surrounding ethical technology-enabled innovation. Those of us working in large corporations are under relentless pressure to innovate – with minimal ethical guidance to support us. Those working for startups need to be just as mindful of the impact of the innovations are promoting.
We want to explore these challenges together, learn more about what it means to be fully human, created in the image of God, and how we can strive to steer technology use for the benefit of humanity. We want to understand what it means to flourish as humans in this digital age and how we as technology professionals can contribute positively to society as a whole. The group will follow a discussion-based syllabus, sharing the experiences we have from our home context and workplaces. We will read relevant books together and see what we can learn from them. We want to listen to the insights that visiting specialists bring to us. We will make space to think and consider how our work fits into the world that Jesus came to save. Above all we want to develop insights that will help us to live better as Christians in our daily work; and learn to support one another through challenges we face as Christian technologists.
Across six meetings, in three years, we will consider the theme of ‘Human Flourishing in a Digital World’. Particular themes we will cover include:
· Artificial Intelligence – developing a Christian perspective on advanced technology
· Automation and the future of work – what is the Christian response?
· Moral dilemmas in a digital world – should machines ever be given moral agency?
· Can “moving fast and breaking things” work as an acceptable philosophy of innovation?
· How can we embed ethical innovation within commercial business?