Leading Tech Diplomat and Historian Join AI and Faith as Founding Members

We have entered an era in which sovereign nations are finding it essential to cooperate with  the largest technology companies in ways formerly reserved for other nations, as evidenced in this talk given by Brandon Lee, Canada’s Consul General to the Pacific Northwest and Alaska since 2017,  at the Seattle Rotary Club last fall.  Given his central role in this new diplomacy, AI and Faith is pleased to welcome Consul General Lee as one of our newest Founding Member.  However, he has been involved with our work almost from the beginning.  We first learned of Consul General Lee’s interest in the issues AI and Faith is addressing when he participated in an “unconference” produced by our Founding Member Michael Paulus at Seattle Pacific University 2019.  He also spoke on a key panel on diplomacy between sovereign nations and Big Tech at the Continuing Legal Education program “Viewing AI Through Multiple Lenses” which AI and Faith organized for the King County Bar Association last fall.

Consul General Lee joined the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFATD) in 2004 following a career in the private sector as a pioneer in online banking and in large-scale telecommunications and IT management consulting. He has held several executive and management positions within the department including secondments to the WTO and International Red Cross.  From 2015-2017,he was Consul General in San Francisco and acted as Canada’s Ambassador to Silicon Valley.  He is one of Canada’s most senior technology diplomats and follows a Buddhist faith tradition.

There is a long history of social interaction with and influence by technology that is an essential element for maintain perspective on the rapid transformation that AI-powered applications are bringing about today.  The printing press, industrial revolution, railroads, telegraph/telephone/radio, and other innovations have had profound effects on both society at large and religion in particular.   We are excited to welcome historian Douglas Strong to our expert community of Founding Members to explore parallels between such antecedents and the current impacts of AI.

The Rev. Dr. Strong is Dean of the School of Theology and Professor of the History Christianity at Seattle Pacific University.  Dean Strong’s field of study is American religious history, particularly around the history of 19th-century revivalism and social reform.  He is especially interested in comparing religious movements’ historical engagement of technology and its impact on societal change with the complex, global environment of AI-powered technology.  Dean Strong graduated from Houghton College and earned his Master of Divinity degree and PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary.

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