AI and Faith is continuing to invite experts from technology, business, academia, and faith leadership to selectively deepen our bench for “connecting, encouraging, and equipping” faith perspectives on AI ethics. We are delighted to welcome the following remarkable scholars and entrepreneurs this month:
Sadegh Aalizadeh (Contributing Fellow, Editorial Team) is currently working as a Software Developer and Solution Architect at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, after completing his Masters degree in Computer Science there and working as a graduate research and teaching assistant. Sadegh’s Masters degree and continuing research interest is in the area of software refactoring – maintaining and adapting software systems for coming dramatic changes in software architecture and design, which Sadegh plans to continue in Canada or the United States in pursuit of a PhD.
Prior to his move to Quebec, Sadegh worked as a software developer in the Computer Research Center for Islamic Sciences in Qom, and as a researcher and writer at the intersection of economic, culture, public policy and legal issues for several high-level policy institutes while employed as a Senior Research Fellow at Islamic Azad University in Tehran from 2014-17. Sadegh assisted the Trustee Board of the University in planning and managing a nation-wide decision-making platform for brainstorming sessions among elites and university professors to address strategic and challenging topics for policy making. In addition to his Masters from Concordia, Sadegh holds a Masters of IT Engineering, E-Commerce/Electronic Commerce from Noore Touba Institute of Higher Education, and a Bachelors in Computer Science from the University of Qom in Iran.
Dr. Ali-Reza Bhojani (Research Fellow) is Teaching Fellow in Islamic Ethics and Theology in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Birmingham, and Honorary Research Fellow at the Al-Mahdi Institute. Ali-Reza has a developing research interest in AI ethics, exploring how Islamic thought can both inform and be informed by the pressing questions emerging out of the AI ethics space. This interest has led him to include a focus on AI ethics in new masters and undergraduate level teaching that he is introducing at the University of Birmingham within a new collaborative module on “Law and Ethics in Christian and Muslim thought and practice”.
Ali-Reza has held previous academic posts at the Al-Mahdi Institute, the University of Nottingham, the University of Oxford, and the Markfield Institute of Higher Education. Throughout this time his research, teaching and writing has focused on intersections between Islamic legal theory, theology, and ethics. Having been trained, and having taught, in both Muslim seminary and secular academic contexts his work has always sought to break barriers and build bridges between ideas, disciplines, methodologies, intellectual cultures and people. He has served two terms as an elected council member of the British Association of Islamic Studies and regularly contributes to a range of knowledge exchange activities within Muslim communities, inter-faith settings and beyond.
Ali-Reza holds a PhD from Durham University. His thesis was published as Moral Rationalism and Shari’a (Routledge, 2015) and more recent publications include the co-edited volume Visions of Sharīʿa (Brill, 2020).. Beyond his scholarly work, Ali-Reza is a family man, father to three boys, and a practicing Optometrist.
Andrew Buhrmann (Advisor – Finance and Entrepreneurship) is the Co-Founder and CEO of Vettd, Inc., a Bellevue, Washington-based company which uses deep learning AI models and search engines at the core of its advanced decision management solutions. Vettd accelerates the path to productivity for organizations with the most effective, flexible technologies and AI frameworks, that are custom-built and designed to scale capabilities. Eschewing mainstream AI tools, Vettd builds AI models that their clients own and are built with their own data, or data Vettd helps them ethically acquire. Vettd manages these AI models and search engines which are integrated into existing platforms or used to power new intelligent products. These ethically designed and fully managed customized solutions fit Andrew’s mission “to change the world one AI model at a time.
Vettd’s commitment to ethical sourcing of data and its careful application of advanced technologies are just two of the elements in Andrew’s work, together with his own commitment to integrating his faith values, that draw Andrew to engage in AI&F’s mission to promote an integrated approach to ethical AI for human flourishing.
Before Vettd, Andrew worked in a number of service-oriented startups in key product development and sales roles. Andrew holds a degree in economics from the University of Washington.
Barry Dynkin (Contributing Fellow, Programs Team) is a cybersecurity attorney and the Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of the American Cybersecurity Institute, a leading think tank focused on the juncture of technology, security, law and policy. He is also the co-founder and Co-Founder and President of Atlas Cybersecurity, a cutting-edge managed cybersecurity service provider and consultancy. As a Tech-in-Residence Fellow and adjunct professor at the City College of New York and Hofstra University, he teaches technology ethics, cybersecurity, and privacy law at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
Barry has published widely on the juncture of technology, security, law, and policy. He was a legal researcher for the Tallinn Manual 2.0, a contributing author on Law Firm Cybersecurity, a publication of the ABA, and has a book forthcoming on the law of cybersecurity and cyber warfare. Barry also serves as the Co-Chair of the Risk, Legal, and Compliance and Academic Relations Committees of the New York Metropolitan Chapter of ISACA, where he is also a Board Director.
Raja Kanuri (Advisor, Hindu Theology and Ethics), is a PhD Candidate at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam researching Vedic ethics in the context of AI. Raja is also a Project Manager at the SRH Berlin University of Applied Sciences in Berlin. ·He will be moving into teaching assignments related to AI ethics soon, and works with the Berlin School of Technology. Before moving to Germany to pursue his MBA, Raja worked as a project team lead and manager at several technology companies in Hyderabad, India after completing his Bachelor of Science degree from Osmania University and a diploma in Communicative English from Central Hyderabad University. His work experience is in the areas of customer service, training, team and project management.
Raja is in the process of submitting his PhD research applying Vedic ethics towards the evolving AI ethics framework to VU Amsterdam’s Department of Theology and Religion. Through this study he aspires to explore how the Hindu texts’ wisdom could contribute to the developing frameworks of AI ethics. In addition to his study there, his academic network includes professors in India. Raja is an active participant in globalethics.ai, a French-based community of experts working to deepen the philosophic bases of AI ethics, and expects to assist AI&F in connecting with that global organization.
Cyrus (Cy) Olsen III (Research Fellow, Networking Team) is Lo Schiavo Chair in Catholic Social Thought at the University of San Francisco (AY 2022-23). He is an Oxford-trained academic, collaborator, and observer in the Neurology Department of Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School through the Dhand Lab. The Templeton World Charity Foundation is supporting their research for the next three years titled “Buffering, Porosity, and Brain Health in Uganda,” which is a partnership with Ugandan researchers to study how beliefs about ancestors influence health-seeking behavior. Cyrus is also a small business owner (TunedtoCyrus,LLC), facilitating his work in voice-acting and thought leadership for social impact.
Vineet Rajan (Advisor – Faith & Work) is the Co-Founder and CEO of Paraclete. Paraclete is the world’s first SoulCare™ platform enabling employers to individually support and engage their employees by connecting them to on-demand, confidential conversations with trained SoulCare™ Guides. Through consistent SoulCare™ Connections and Content, Paraclete lightens employees’ loads and helps employers actualize a thriving workforce where workers can truly bring their whole selves to work.
Vineet brings to Paraclete experience with another startup, and even more noteworthy, 11 years as an officer in the Marine Corps, where he served in strategic roles including as a military intelligence exchange officer in the UK and military legislative assistant to a US Congressman. Vineet led Marines in combat in both Iraq and Afghanistan, conducted humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in Japan, and helped craft national policy in both the US Congress and Pentagon. Vineet holds an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, a Masters Degree in International Relations (w/ Distinction) from the University of Cambridge, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Drexel University.
Marcus Schwarting (Contributing Member – Editorial Team) is a PhD candidate in computer science at the University of Chicago, where his research focuses on applying deep learning to important challenges in computational chemistry, materials science, and spectroscopy. Marcus graduated from the University of Louisville in 2018 with degrees in mathematics and chemical engineering. After working for four years at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory, Marcus began his PhD studies in 2020 under Drs. Ian Foster and Eric Jonas.
We are excited to introduce these new experts to others in our community and among partner organizations in our Network.