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AI&F Wrapping Up a Remarkable Year

Generative AI has been a popular topic of 2023. The extraordinary advances in the capabilities of large language models has shocked creators and users alike, producing demands for a pause on research. These demands have come from a variety of figures, including some pioneers in the AI field. Microsoft, Google, and other large technology firms have rapidly incorporated generative AI models into their existing product suites. Such technological advances led to policy responses as well. In November, President Joe Biden signed an executive order targeted at the development and deployment of AI. The British government later convened a global AI Safety Summit held at Bletchley Park.

These remarkable developments both vindicated AI and Faith’s six-year engagement with AI ethics and spurred our continuing contributions to the global ethics conversation. These include:

  • Our merger with AI Theology and invitations added 33 new individual experts to our community from six countries, plus three new distinguished Partner organizations, with more under consideration by our Network Team.
  • Our Editorial Team published 49 feature essays and interviews, wrapped into a dozen Newsletters themed on topics like generative AI, algorithmic decision making, AI in healthcare, and the power of stories through new media.
  • In addition to many solo conference and podcast appearances, our Program Team facilitated whole conferences or key panels around the world, including
    • Contributing Fellow Levi Checketts’ “Ethical and Social Implications of Artificial Intelligence: East-Asia and Beyond”  in Hong Kong.
    • Presentations by three experts at the Missional AI Summit in Orlando
    • A plenary panel and workshop on the ethics of HR algorithms at the National Conference of Faith ERG leaders in Washington DC in May followed by a July ethics presentation for over 50 Faith ERG leaders.
    • Over a dozen AI&F experts across faith traditions presenting on AI and Virtue Ethics in virtual conferences in Berkeley, Seoul, and Rome.
    • Advisor Nathan Colaner’s program “Will Intelligent Machines Prepare the Next Workforce?” at Seattle University, featuring a senior Google Fellow and Fr. Paolo Benanti from the Vatican.
    • Roll out of a major new Vatican AI collection of essays at the Greffenstette Institute’s Technology Symposium organized by Advisor John Slattery.
    • The first “faith social” ever at NeuRIPS.
    • Lightning Talks by AI&F experts  with Christian Effective Altruists this month.
  • A special “brown bag” informal weekly discussion group from our Network Team on key developments in generative AI spurred creation of MidrashBot, an early example of generative AI engagement with sacred texts.
  • Eight highly topical internal Town Halls and Salons featured interviews with high profile experts while our Research Fellows monthly presented on their work.
  • Our Media/Tech Team managed our digital tools and rolled out across our operating teams a Mighty Networks secure platform for dynamic communication.
  • Over a dozen faith-diverse AI&F experts led by Contributing Fellow Ben Dynkin drafted and signed a compelling argument for inclusion of faith perspectives in AI policy in response to a White House RFI in July.
  • We are partnering in a new AI and the Church Initiative promoting our leadership of an ethics standard setting and auditing opportunity for AI faith applications.
  • Five of our experts were featured in the October cover story of Christianity Today.

Many thanks for bringing all this about to over two dozen volunteer Team Leads and Contributing Fellows on our four Operating Teams (Editorial, Programs, Network, and Media/Tech); the many Advisors and Research Fellows who wrote, spoke and represented us; and our Executive Leadership Team of Mark Graves, Elias Kruger, Thomas Osborn, and David Brenner.

And special thanks to our Administrator (now expanded to Program Coordinator) Penny Yuen for her first year of terrific support, plus web managers Lewis Going and Isabelle Braconnot for driving our online and digital presence!

We are looking forward to an even more active 2024.

The AI and Faith Executive Leadership Team

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