Lecture on Artificial Intelligence and the Apocalyptic Imagination

Lecture on Artificial Intelligence and the Apocalyptic Imagination March 25, 2022

I am very honored to be giving Seattle Pacific Universitty’s 2022 Winifred E. Weter Faculty Award Lecture for Meritorious Scholarship, April 12, 7 p.m., in Upper Gwinn Commons. The lecture will be livestreamed.

Here is a brief description of my lecture, “Artificial Intelligence and the Apocalyptic Imagination: The Ends of Artificial Agency”:

The increasing role and power of artificial intelligence in our lives and world requires us to imagine and shape a desirable future with this technology. Since visions of AI often draw from Christian apocalyptic narratives, current discussions about technological hopes and fears present an opportunity for a deeper engagement with Christian eschatological resources. Dr. Paulus argues that the Christian apocalyptic imagination can transform how we think about and use AI, helping us discover ways artificial agency may participate in new creation.

This lecture, which is part of a larger book project I am just finishing up, brings together a number of ideas explored on this blog over the years.

The lecture and book also build on a forthcoming book I co-edited with Mike Langford, AI, Faith, and the Future, which should be available soon from Pickwick Publications. I will share more information about that soon. For now, here is the table of contents:

PART I: FOUNDATIONS

    1. Introduction

Michael J. Paulus Jr.

    1. An Introduction to Artificial Intelligence

Carlos R. Arias

    1. What’s so Artificialand Intelligentabout Artificial Intelligence?: A Conceptual Framework for AI

Rebekah L. H. Rice

    1. A Theological Framework for Reflection on Artificial Intelligence

Michael D. Langford

PART II: FOUNDATIONS

    1. Artificial Intelligence and Theological Personhood

Michael D. Langford

    1. Reinforcement in the Information Revolution

Phillip M. Baker

    1. 21stCentury Learning Skills and Artificial Intelligence

David Wicks and Michael J. Paulus Jr.

    1. Automation and Apocalypse: Imagining the Future of Work

Michael J. Paulus Jr.

    1. Sin and Grace

Bruce D. Baker

     Epilogue: A Litany for Faithful Engagement with Artificial Intelligence

Bruce D. Baker

This book came out of a faculty research group I organized at SPU. A few of us spoke about the group at a recent conference; slides from that presentation are available here.

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