Invited @ Virtual Round Table on Artificial Intelligence by EARS (Jan. 28, 2021)

The development of Artificial Intelligence concerns all domains, ranging from politics to religion, and from ethics to philosophy. During the round table on the topic, the European Academy on Religion and Society (EARS) would like to focus on the influence that AI has on these various fields and practices and discuss the following questions:

1.     Until very recently (Foucault; l’Herméneutique du sujet) the notion of ‘human’ seemed to be defined by the idea of reflexivity: I, as a subject, am capable of thinking about myself as an object. This reflexivity implies also a moral feedback on one’s own behavior. How then will morals be instilled in self-learning systems and humanoids? Think of the story in the content hub. Think of self-deciding drones.

2.     An open society only functions with a system of checks and balances. These checks and balances haven been agreed upon in a democratic process. However, Big Tech (GAFAM) seems to become an autonomous system, creating its own rules. They even determine what is true by either banning someone from their platforms or accepting them. Now, democratic structures are not able to react adequately to this speedy ongoing progress in this domain. How should we deal with new developments? What is to be expected as future developments?

3. Within the domain of genetic engineering, the scientific community tries to establish rules of conduct, aiming at transparency and control. What are the possibilities for AI in this respect, taking into account the Roman-Catholic criteria: transparency, inclusion, responsibility, impartiality, reliability, and security and privacy?      


– Matthias Smalbrugge, Vrije Universiteit, Faculty of Religion and Theology,
– Sigrid Müller, Universität Wien, Faculty of Catholic Theology
– Blazenka Scheuer, Lund University, Joint Faculties of Humanities and Theology
– Beth Singler, University of Cambridge, Homerton College
– Yusuf Celik, Utrecht University, Faculty of Philosophy and Religion
– Idris Nassery, Universität Paderborn, Faculty of Cultural Studies
– Frank van Harmelen, Vrije Universiteit, Faculty of Science
– Piek Vossen, Vrije Universiteit, Faculty of Humanities