Over the course of 2022 nine AI&F Research Fellows and Advisors have launched The Christian AI Call to Action Project to move beyond ethics statements and create an action-oriented, broad spectrum study group working in 2023 toward three goals:
- Develop a Biblically-based Technical Framework of Relevant Christian Issues that incorporates diverse confessions within the Christian tradition, laying the groundwork for future work by Christian researchers, organizations and networks, and discussions in broader culture and society.
- Assess how Christians can positively engage and affect the broader ethical discussion on these issues and outline a process for channeling ongoing analysis of these issues into the broader ethics discussion around creation, adoption, and use of AI-powered technologies, as well as future public policy and tech industry-oriented formulations.
- Produce a Christian Call to Action that galvanizes the work of Christians working from diverse perspectives toward a common goal of achieving the good ends of AI for all while avoiding devastating effects.
The members of the Steering Committee know it will not be possible to analyze the issues themselves in a single year. But they believe that identifying and framing those issues that are most relevant to Christian theology and teaching, and proposing an effective and efficient future process for study and discussion, will be two big steps ahead to lay the foundation for such analysis calculated to connect with other faith traditions and the broader secular conversation.
Toward that end, the Steering Committee is proposing the following four Working Groups to identify the relevant issues in three 2-hour meetings next winter, spring and summer. The Working Groups are:
Working Group 1: The “Framing Team” to identify the overarching questions of theological, cultural, and values underlying Christian perspectives on AI ethics, doubtless including human distinctiveness, personhood, conscious, the purpose and meaning of life and work and Biblical paradigms for all of these. (Led by AI&F Advisors Jason Thacker and Derek Schuurman)
Working Group 2: “Human Flourishing from a Safet’ Viewpoint” – identifying issues primarily from the viewpoint of risk in AI applications such as surveillance, algorithmic decisionmaking, so-called moral machines, work-replacing robotics, text-generating language and visual models, and substitutes for in person community. (Led by AI&F Advisors Carlos Arias, Joanna Ng and Trish Shaw)
Working Group 3: “Human Flourishing from a Stewardship Viewpoint” – identifying issues primarily from the viewpoint of opportunities that cannot in good conscience go unexplored, such as health care breakthroughs, pursuit of knowledge in all its forms, fair access to technology, data analysis and tools for the advancement of Christian mission, solutions to the existential environmental threats, new forms of cultural and arts engagement, and more just and flourishing communities. (Led by AI&F Advisors David Brenner and Corey LaBrecque)
Working Group 4: “Hope for the Future and a Proposed Process from Here” – identify issues related to competing apocalyptic and utopian visions for the future and how tech creators and faith leaders can effectively engage with faith-based tech ethics and the broader secular AI ethics conversation. (Led by AI&F Research Fellow Gretchen Huizinga and Advisor Chris Lim)
Following the Working Group meetings, in the remainder of 2023 a Drafting Committee with representatives from the Steering Committee and each Working Group will assemble the Working Groups’ conclusions into a draft Technological Framework, and draft the Call to Action, for consideration and comment by all leading up to a hybrid gathering early in 2024.
Are you interested in participating in one of these Workings Groups? The Steering Committee is holding a virtual “open house” on Friday, Sept. 30 for 7-8 am Pacific (for maximum time zone coverage) to answer your questions and ideas. Please send an email to Admin@aiandfaith.org for an invitation to the Open House, and if you are not already an AI&F expert, please include a brief statement of a) why you’d like to participate; and b) the particular strengths and experience you will bring to the work. Thanks very much – The Steering Committee for this Project is eager to hear from you!
The Steering Committee is eager to test this process in the Christian tradition, hopeful for its potential for use by other faith traditions in our AI and Faith community, with the ultimate goal of establishing together the relevance of ancient wisdom in the largely secular broader AI ethics discussion.