Founding Members

Meet the Founding Members of AI and Faith

Our members come from diverse business, academic and institutional backgrounds, and a wide range of faith traditions. We remain interested in expanding our roster of outstanding thought leaders. If you want to take a leadership role in furthering the dialog between the faith community and the emerging technologies related to AI please contact us.

Yasmin Ali

is a computer scientist and the founder of Skillspire, an education startup headquartered in Bellevue that offers technology boot camps for immigrants, refugees and women, largely taught by part-time instructors who work in technology.  Yasmin was an early visionary member of MAPS and remains active in leadership there.”

Ahmed Hassan Awadallah, Ph.D

leads the Language and Information Technologies Team of scientists and engineers at Microsoft Research Technologies, a new R&D organization within Microsoft Research.  His team focuses on harnessing AI to understand how people interact with information systems and develop new experiences to empower people to be more productive.

David Brenner

is a Seattle attorney with 25 years of experience in counseling clients and litigating claims related to technology, risk management and insurance coverage. He is a leader at University Presbyterian Church and actively involved in programs that integrate faith, science and technology with faculty of the University of Washington. He is a graduate of Stanford University and UC Berkeley’s Law School.

Jane Compson, Ph.D.

is an assistant professor at the University of Washington. She currently teaches classes in Comparative Religion; Environmental Ethics; Philosophy, Religion and the Environment; Biomedical Ethics and Introduction to Ethics.

Craig Detweiler, Ph.D

Is the President of the Seattle School of Theology & Psychology, and a professor, author, and mentor on culture, faith and technology. In addition to writing screenplays for Hollywood, his books include iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives and Selfies: Searching for the Image of God in a Digital Age. He graduated from Davidson College, earned an M.F.A. from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, and an M.Div. and Ph.D from Fuller Theological Seminary.

Rev. Dani Forbus

is the pastor of Northminster Presbyterian Church in Seattle. While at Princeton Theological Seminary she placed emphasis on the field of Theological Anthropology, which seeks to understand what it means to be human and supports human flourishing. Serving in congregations from Belfast, Northern Ireland to Cape Town, South Africa to Los Angeles, CA, she has observed the complex impacts of technology across the globe. Her current congregation, set in the Ballard neighborhood, engages people working in the humanities, ethics, technology, brain science, just to name a few.

Turan Kayaoglu, Ph.D

is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Washington, Tacoma, and teaches in Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs, a division of the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. His research focuses on the intersection of religion, human rights, and international relations.

Jawad Khaki

 is an entrepreneur, investor, technologist and a community volunteer. He is a 20-year Microsoft Corporation veteran where he served as a Corporate Vice President.  In 1997 Jawad helped establish the Ithna‐asheri Muslim Association of the Northwest (IMAN)  and serves as its President.

Nathan Kutz, Ph.D

is the Robert Bolles and Yasuko Endo Professor within the Department of Applied Mathematics at the University of Washington in Seattle, and author of the book Data-Driven Modeling & Scientific Computation: Methods for Complex Systems & Big Data (Oxford Univ. Press, 2013).

Reid Maclellan, M.D.

is the founder and CEO of Asclepius, Inc, a privately-owned healthcare company, and serves as an Adjunct Professor at both Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital. He graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and received his M.D. from its Medical School. He completed a general surgery internship at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine Chattanooga, and plastic surgery clinical and research fellowships at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital. Additionally, he earned a post-doctoral Master in Medical Sciences Degree in translational medical research from Harvard Medical School.

Brenda Ng

is the principal and founder of The Trio Group, specializing in customer-driven business and marketing insights for a wide range of technology companies. She was formerly a senior executive for consumer and competitive insights at Microsoft and T-Mobile.

Michael Paulus

is University Librarian, Assistant Provost for Educational Technology, and Director and Associate Professor of Information Studies at Seattle Pacific University. His administrative, teaching, and scholarly interests focus on the history and future of information and communication technologies.

Linda Ranz

is currently the Director of product management at Amazon for Echo multimodal products. Her prior experience includes senior executive positions in e commerce and product development at Starbucks and Getty Images. She also served as the Vice President for Marketing and Development of Medical Teams International.

Rebekah Rice, Ph.D

is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Seattle Pacific University. Her areas of expertise include Philosophy of Mind and Action Theory (including causal theories of action, agent causation, and free will). She received her Ph.D from Brown University.

Paul Taylor

is a teaching pastor and elder at Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto, California. He explores the intersection of technology and theology through his blog and podcast at allthingsnew.tech. Paul graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Industrial Engineering and worked for Oracle Corporation as a Senior Product Manager designing software solutions before moving into leadership at PBC in 2007.

Tim Weinhold

has been a long-time business leader, both in commercial real estate and as a serial entrepreneur. He also speaks and writes regularly regarding the intersection of faith and business. Tim is a transplant from Boston where he graduated from Harvard and joined Red Sox Nation. He is also a Fellow of the Center for Enterprise, Markets and Ethics at Oxford, and is a member of the Executive Advisory Board for the School of Business, Government and Economics at Seattle Pacific University.

James Wellman, Ph.D

is Chair of the Comparative Religion Program in the Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, and head of the Initiative for Global Christian Studies.

Carlos Arias, Ph.D

is Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Seattle Pacific University. He formerly taught and served as research director at a leading university in Honduras. His work focus includes e-government and e-learning.

Bruce Baker, Ph.D

teaches business ethics at Seattle Pacific University and the University of Washington, and is a former senior executive at Microsoft. He is a graduate of the California Institute of Technology, the Stanford Business School, Fuller Theological Seminary, and holds a Ph.D. in Theological Ethics from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. An ordained Presbyterian minister and Parish Associate of University Presbyterian Church, Bruce also holds five patents from his work as a startup entrepreneur.

Nathan Colaner, Ph.D

is a senior instructor in the Departments of Management and Philosophy at Seattle University, focusing on business ethics with particular research emphasis on big data management and business use of artificial intelligence.  He has been instrumental in the formation of the University’s new Center for Science and Innovation.

Salah Dandan

is a Bellevue based attorney and business executive with extensive experience in international business and transactions, technology and intellectual property.

Saskia de Vries, Ph.D

is an Assistant Investigator at the Allen Institute for Brain Science where her research centers on how the brain transforms sensory information into perception and behavior. Saskia received her Ph.D. from Harvard.

Brian Green

Brian Patrick Green is the director of technology ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. His work is focused on the ethics of technology, including AI and ethics, as well as on the relationship of technology and religion. Green teaches AI ethics in Santa Clara’s Graduate School of Engineering. He is a member of the Safety-Critical AI working group at the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society, and also coordinates several other initiatives for the Markkula Center. He holds doctoral and master’s degrees in ethics and social theory from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, and his undergraduate degree is in genetics from the University of California, Davis.

Lee Huntsman, Ph.D

is the President Emeritus of the University of Washington and also served there as long time Provost and Chair of the Department of Bioengineering.  He is a leader at University Presbyterian Church. At the UW, he is presently leading the Health Innovators Collaborative to advance information sharing, resource availability, joint projects and creation of new initiatives related to seizing the opportunities presented by the unprecedented changes in healthcare.

Margaret Kibben

is a combat-decorated veteran and Presbyterian minister who was the first woman to serve as the Chief of Chaplains of the United States Navy and the Chaplain of the Marine Corps. Retired as a Rear Admiral, through her consultancy, Virtue in Practice LLC, she presently speaks and writes on leadership, ethics and religious practice.  Rear Admiral Kibben is a graduate of Goucher College, Princeton Seminary (Masters of Divinity and Doctorate in Ministry) and the Naval War College (Masters Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies).

Chris Lim

leads TheoTech and created its chief product spf.io, a platform where humans and AI collaborate to deliver real time translations of live events. He formerly served as a software engineer at Amazon and received a Masters in Computer Science at the University of Washington doing machine translation research under Professor Oren Etzioni.

Meenaz Merchant

is the Principal Group Program Manager – Artificial Intelligence and Research for Bing Search & AI at Microsoft. He holds undergraduate and masters degrees in computer science respectively from Maharashtra Institute of Technology and Stanford University, and an MBA from UC Berkeley. Meenaz is an active leader and worships with his family at the Iman Center in Kirkland, Washington.

James B. Notkin

is Co-Pastor and Vision Lead at Union Church, South Lake Union, and adjunct professor of business ethics at SPU. As Union’s Vision Lead, James B. seeks to work with the community to live into our call to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with Jesus. Before co-founding Union more than ten years ago, James B was in ministry with Ann Arbor First Presbyterian Church, and then with University Presbyterian Church in Seattle. James B. received an M.Div. at Princeton Theological Seminary. A native of Seattle he loves the rain but increasingly appreciates how sunshine makes biking and tennis more enjoyable.

Tripp Parker

is a machine learning leader at Amazon and formerly a Senior Program Manager in AI at Microsoft.  He holds a dual undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Computer Science from Duke University.

Daniel Rasmus

is the founder of Serious Insights, which provides analysis and strategy around scenario planning, knowledge management, collaboration, emerging technology and popular culture to help clients put their future in context. He is the author of Listening to the Future, and Management by Design, speaks and writes frequently in technology settings, and publishes regular blog posts on AI on the Serious Insights website. Daniel attended the University of California at Santa Cruz and holds a certificate in intelligent systems engineering from the University of California at Irvine.

Marc Sachnoff

is the founder of the Modern Wisdom Leadership Institute whose purpose is to help individuals and organizations discover their unique meaning, purpose and direction so all involved can live joyful and fulfilling lives. In addition to significant non-profit experience in the entertainment industry and SGI-USA Buddhist Association, Marc has provided enlightened business strategy and marketing consulting services to organizations as diverse as Coca Cola, Microsoft, and the Presidential Inaugural Committee. Most recently Marc worked as a Director of Business Development in Microsoft’s Xbox Gaming Division.

Jason Thacker

serves as and associate research fellow and creative director at The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. He is a graduate of The University of Tennessee and Southern Seminary. His new book The Age of AI: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity releases in March 2020 with Zondervan. He is married to Dorie and they have two sons.

Rabbi Daniel Weiner

has been the senior rabbi of the largest synagogue in the Northwest, Temple De Hirsch Sinai, with over 4,000 members, since 2001.  He is a pioneer in video worship, an author and columnist for Seattle newspapers, and leads the worship rock band at TDS.

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