AI&F 3.0 First Wave of almost 50 new Specialized Leaders

Over the past six months, we’ve been planning our reset of the AI and Faith community from a single level of multidisciplinary experts to five new roles for engaging faith perspectives on AI ethics.   Our first round of recruiting focused on Research Fellows and a Research Advisory Board for our new think tank, the Institute for Faith Perspectives on AI Issues (IFPAI); Contributing Fellows and Contributing Members for our “Channel” into the broader AI ethics discussion; and Advisors to help us focus on particular specialty topics and connect with organizational partners.

We’re excited to announce 48 new Fellows and Advisors, drawn not only from the ranks of our 80 Founding Members but others working in areas relevant to our mission.

 

Research Fellows

Our new think tank will explore the practical relevance of “ancient wisdom” to the AI ethics discussion through the work of scholars and practitioners who wish to cross fertilize ideas and perspectives as part of a larger multidisciplinary community of experts.  Along the way we aim to 1) help organize the AI Ethics discussion by defining issues of particular relevance to faith; 2) track research especially on faith perspectives on AI; and 3) connect researchers through our continuing database projectOur new Research Fellows are:

  • Nicoleta Acatrinei, Executive Director of the Geneva Agape Foundation in Geneva, Switzerland and an economist and theologian (Eastern Orthodox) by training.
  • Catherine Ballantyne, AI researcher, technologist, engineer, device physicist, designer, and decades-long participant in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
  • Shanen Boettcher, who recently defended his PhD dissertation at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland on the role that artificial intelligence technology plays in the relationship between spiritual/religious information and spiritual/religious knowledge, following a 25 year career in technology, primarily as a General Manager of Product Management at Microsoft.
  • Jane Compson, assistant professor at the University of Washington, Tacoma Campus, teaching classes in Applied Buddhism, Ethics, and Comparative Religion
  • Salah Dandan, a Bellevue, Washington-based attorney and business executive with extensive experience in international business and transactions, technology and intellectual property, who teaches AI ethics as an adjunct professor at Kuwaiti University School of Law.
  • Robert Geraci, Professor of Religious Studies at Manhattan College and author of multiple books on technology and religion, whose research and writing flow out of his interest in how we use technology to enchant and give meaning to the world.
  • Brian Green, Director of Technology Ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, whose work is focused on the ethics of technology, including AI and ethics, as well as on the relationship of technology and religion.
  • Gretchen Huizinga, the former Executive Producer and Host of the Microsoft Research Podcast, and a Ph.D candidate in the School of Education at the University of Washington whose research explores voices of faith in the responsible AI conversation.
  • T.N. Sudersham, also a research fellow of the Infinity Foundation in India, who combines a traditional upbringing in a practising SriVaishnava household with schooling in the western methods and techniques of Sciences and Engineering, and is a Computer Scientist by profession, engaging primarily in the fields of Artificial Intelligence and related technologies.
  • Daniel Rasmus is the Research Director of IFPAI and 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. Dan formerly managed think tank research teams at Forrester Research and Microsoft.

Contributing Fellows and Contributing Members

Contributing Fellows will lead four teams who generate Content; help to produce and staff internal and external Programs; enhance our Communications capability to ensure our work is viewed and read broadly; and support our Network of Partners and other external connections. Contributing Members participate in these teams and help to shape the work.  Our current Contributing Fellows are:

  • William Barylo (Content), a postdoctoral researcher in Sociology at the University of Warwick, UK, who produces films on social issues to disseminate knowledge to wider audiences, including documentary and fiction films to equip students and community organisers with practical tools for understanding and navigating the world, and help businesses improve their staff retention and motivation by creating nurturing work cultures.
  • Gilad Berenstein (Programs) is currently working in venture capital after a recent stint as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2) in Seattle and founder and CEO of a successful travel personalization startup.
  • Dorothy Easy (Content) is a Quaker Christian existentialist with an interest in spiritual health who currently works as an Associate Hospital Chaplain, and has been following emerging tech trends since the ‘90’s, including spirituality and transhumanism.
  • Brian Glenn (Content) is a senior manager on Facebook’s Strategic Response Policy team based in Washington, D.C. and before that as a foreign policy specialist for the U.S. Department of Defense on Middle East issues for over 10 years.
  • Levi Checketts (Networking) writes on social ethical problems related to AI and transhumanism from a Catholic perspective and is an incoming Assistant Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Hong Kong Baptist University while also sitting on the Advisory Board for AI and Theology and as a participant in the joint Pontifical Council for Culture and Santa Clara University committee on AI concerns.
  • Emily Wenger (Content) is pursuing a PhD in computer science at the University of Chicago where her research explores the limitations, vulnerabilities, and privacy implications of neural networks.

Contributing Members thus far are:

  • Dan Forbush (Content) is co-publisher of the Smartacus web platform, using tools like Zoom, Basecamp and Trint to enable students, writing coaches and community leaders to create communications that serve the public interest while preparing students for careers in journalism, public relations, film, and digital media.
  • Ron Roth (Content) is a lead vocalist, philosopher, writer, ethicist, and Board Member at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Boca Raton, Florida, and a 20-year veteran of designing and architecting software systems.

 

Advisors

Advisors bring knowledge and experience from particular disciplines to advise the Board and Fellows, provide occasional content and fill speaking roles, and maintain valuable ties to Partner organizations and their own networks.  Some Advisors are also members of the Research Advisory Board (RAB) that advises the Research Director and Fellows of IFPAI.  Founding Members and others who have already stepped into this role are:

  • Aneelah Afzali, founder and Executive Director of the American Muslim Empowerment Network (AMEN) at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS)
  • Carlos Arias, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Seattle Pacific University (RAB)
  • Bruce Baker, adjunct professor of business ethics at Seattle Pacific University and former Microsoft executive
  • Gordon Bell, President of MDCommerce (medical records management)
  • Kutter Callaway, Associate Professor of Theology and Culture and co-director of Reel Spirituality at Fuller Theological Seminary
  • Craig Chapman, Director/Dean of the Creatio Center for Technology, Media and Design at Northwest University
  • Mark Chinen, Professor of Law at the Seattle University School of Law, and a Fellow of the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality
  • Nathan Colaner, senior instructor in the Departments of Management and Philosophy at Seattle University, and the Managing Director of Seattle University’s Initiative in Ethics and Transformative Technologies
  • Craig Detweiler, incoming Dean of the College of Performing Arts and Production at Grand Canyon University
  • Matthew Dickerson, Professor of Computer Science, Middlebury College
  • Brian Green, Director of Tech Ethics, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University (RAB)
  • Scott Hawley, Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Physics at Belmont University
  • Noreen Herzfeld, Professor of Science and Religion at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict (RAB)
  • Don Howard, Professor of Philosophy, a Fellow of the University of Notre Dame’s Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values, and an Affiliate of the newly formed interdisciplinary Notre Dame Technology Ethics Center (RAB)
  • Larry Hunter, Professor of Pharmacology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
  • Margaret Kibben, Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives
  • Elias Kruger, Senior Data Scientist and VP at Wells Fargo Bank and Founder, AI and Theology
  • Nathan Kutz, Professor of Applied Math and Director, AI Institute for Dynamic Systems, University of Washington
  • Cory Labrecque, Associate Professor of Bioethics and Theological Ethics, and Chair of Educational Leadership in the Ethics of Life at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Laval (RAB)
  • Rajiv Maholtra, Founder and Director, The Infinity Foundation (RAB)
  • Meenaz Merchant, Partner Group Program Manager – Bing Search and Web Experiences at Microsoft
  • James B Notkin, Co-Pastor, Union Church, Seattle
  • Michael Paulus,  University Librarian, Assistant Provost for Educational Technology, and Director and Associate Professor of Information Studies at Seattle Pacific University
  • Ted Peters, Distinguished Research Professor of Systematic Theology and Ethics at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA   (RAB)
  • Michael Quinn, Dean of the College of Science and Engineering at Seattle University and Director of Seattle University’s Initiative in Ethics and Transformative Technologies (RAB)
  • Derek Schuurman, Professor of computer science at Calvin University (RAB)
  • Jason Thacker, Chair of Research in Technology Ethics and Creative Director at The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
  • Richard Turnbull,  Director of the Centre for Enterprise, Markets and Ethics at Oxford (CEME)
  • Daniel Weiner, Senior Rabbi, Temple De Hirsch Sinai, Seattle and Bellevue, WA
  • Jim Wellman, Chair of the Comparative Religion Program in the Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington

 

Other Founding Members and distinguished friends of AI&F are also considering the above Fellow and Advisor roles.  We will soon be connecting with potential Partners and related Advisors in an expanded recruiting effort to formalize existing informal working relationships and continue to expand our “Network of Networks”.  If you are interested in applying for any of these roles, please contact administrator@aiandfaith.org.

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