Spring 2018 Class Schedule

“Evangelism and Vocation in a Post-Singularity World”


Date Topic, Resources, Description
January 14, 2018 Introduction to the Class

What will happen to the church in the decades ahead as more and more of life becomes automated? From self-driving cars to self-programming computers and robots that can build new and better robots, life is going to change dramatically. Some see these changes as leading to a technological singularity—when artificial intelligence (AI) exceeds human intelligence. This would have profound implications for the world of work (hence vocation) and how people invest their time, thus changing both our notions of evangelism and vocation.

The class will embark on a journey to explore many aspects of this issue, determined by the interests of the participants.

January 21  Assignments and Scheduling

We will offer specific topics for participants to choose. Each person will investigate a topic in order to lead a class discussion on a future date.

If time permits, we will discuss advances in AI and the inevitability of technological advances, the topic originally scheduled for next Sunday.

January 28 Artificial Intelligence
Art will lead a discussion of advances in AI and the inevitability of technological advances.
February 4 Matthew 25:31-46, Acts 2:44-47 (4:34), and Ethics
Micheal Palmer will talk about these biblical passages and their implications for ethics, the Church, and our responsibility in a rapidly changing world.
February 11 Bob Winstead: Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics
Is it even possible to implement something like Asimov’s laws of robotics to protect ourselves from robotic artificial intelligence in the future? What can we do to insure a just future in a world of intelligent machines? Join us for a look at Asimov’s view of the future and what we can know (or not) for sure.
February 18 Ann Cockrell: Impact of Automation
What impact will the accelerating rate of automation have on jobs in the future? Will AI and ever-improving robotics be able to create new employment while eliminating large numbers of today’s jobs? How will our lives change as more of what we do day to day becomes automated?
February 25 Chon Shoaf: Values and A.I.
Do Values Matter? What is the role of values? Can AI incorporate values? We will look whether some subtle values and common beliefs, behaviors, and moods can be incorporated into AI.Come see how even the cartoon character Snoopy is relevant to these questions.
March 4 Emily Brewer: 200th Anniversary of Frankenstein
What does Frankenstein have to do with “Evangelism and Vocation in a Post-Singularity World”? We will look at this seminal fictional work that has embedded itself in western cultural imagination. What does the story represent that has given it such longevity? What themes continue to make it relevant in our current environment? How are current scientific developments and the claims of transhumanists reminiscent of this story?
March 11 Micheal Palmer: Aging, Genetics, and Eternal Life
We now understand far more about the process of aging than even a decade ago. Advances in genetics (especially around the role of telomeres) offer a pathway toward dramatically reducing the speed of aging in the decades to come. Some have even proposed that we will be able to stop aging altogether!
What ethical issues will be raised as the increase in lifespans accelerates? How will it impact resource allocation? Who will benefit, and what new problems may be created? How will the church respond?
You can view the presentation for this class here.
March 18 Rate of Progress in Automation
This Sunday we will return to the topic of jobs the impact of automation. Art Sherwood will lead the discussion.
March 25 Palm Sunday (No Class)
Art will not be with us this day.
April 1 Easter (No Class)
April 8 Charles Coble: Science Fiction
Science Fiction IS authentic fictional literature and more!You can view the presentation Charles prepared for this discussion here.
April 15 Micheal Palmer: What is AI doing for you and to you right now?
It is highly likely that AI was involved in getting you to this web page if you got here without typing the address into address bar above. You have probably also likely used AI to help you get from one point to another in the physical world. You’ve almost certainly used it in communicating online with friends, searching on the web, and making online purchases.This Sunday we will look at how artificial intelligence is already at work in our lives, some risks it brings, and the world our church is likely to face within the next decade.You can view the presentation for this class here.
April 22 Bob Winstead:
Art will not be with us this day.
April 29 Micheal Palmer: The Church in the Digital Age
We will look at the way digital technologies are impacting society and the ways churches have sought to remain relevant and even thrive in the new reality these technologies are creating.
You can view the presentation for this discussion here.
May 6 Karin Mills: Science Fiction
Karin will lead us in a discussion of AI in movies, focusing on some of her favorites and the ethical issues they depict.Karin’s presentation includes a great list of movies involving AI. You can view her presentation here.
May 13 Brian Foreman
For too long the term “calling” has been co-opted to mean those “called” to vocational ministry. What if we understood calling as the call to all Christians to participate in the redemptive act of God in the world? How does that understanding change our approach to vocation, faith and the emerging world around us?
May 20 End of Year Celebration