Welcome AI Ethics Pioneer Noreen Herzfeld, Religion and Tech Professor Robert Geraci, and Gaming CEO Chris Skaggs as Founding Members

We are delighted to add three new Founding Members this month, taking our Founding Member community to 80 experts.

Dr. Robert M Geraci is Professor of Religious Studies at Manhattan College and author of Apocalyptic AI: Visions of Heaven in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Robotics (Oxford University Press, 2010), Virtually Sacred: Myth and Meaning in World of Warcraft and Second Life (Oxford University Press, 2014), Temples of Modernity: Nationalism, Hinduism, and Transhumanism in South Indian Science (Lexington 2018), and Futures of Artificial Intelligence: Perspectives from India and the United States (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2021). His work has been funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, the National Research Foundation of Korea, the American Academy of Religion, and twice by Fulbright-Nehru Professional Excellence (Research) Awards.  His research and writing flows out of his interest in how we use technology to enchant and give meaning to the world. To study this, he uses ethnographic fieldwork, methods from science & technology studies, literature (science fiction) studies, and what he calls “the hodgepodge of methods that all of us in ‘religion and science studies’ put to use.” He is a Fellow of the International Society for Science and Religion.

For more on Robert’s work, see the interview with him in our May issue on AI and Storytelling.

 

Noreen Herzfeld is the Nicholas and Bernice Reuter Professor of Science and Religion at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict. Professor Herzfeld is also a research associate at ZRS Koper and the Research Institute for Theology and Religion, University of South Africa.  She holds degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics from the Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in Theology from the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley.

Professor Herzfeld teaches in both the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Theology at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict, reflecting her two primary research interests—the intersection of religion and technology, and religion and conflict. Topics include computer theory, computer ethics, theology in the light of science, the spirituality and politics of Islam, and ministry in a technological age.

She is the author of In Our Image: Artificial Intelligence and the Human Spirit (Fortress, 2002), Technology and Religion: Remaining Human in a Co-Created World (Templeton, 2009), The Limits of Perfection in Technology, Religion, and Science (Pandora, 2010), and editor of Religion and the New Technologies (MDPI, 2017). In addition, Professor Herzfeld has published numerous articles and book chapters and is a frequent speaker on the prospects for AI, ethical issues in technology, and Islam.

 

Chris Skaggs is the Founder and Chief Operations Officer of Soma Games and Soma SoulWorks, based in Newberg, Oregon.  Created in 2005, Soma Games fancies itself the “C.S. Lewis of video games” and strives to honor that aspiration by making artistically excellent games for people who may never go to church, but  find themselves having fun while pondering eternal things.  Currently, Soma has produced and created a series called The Lost Legends of Redwall, based on the epic series by Brian Jacques feature anthropomorphic animals inhabiting Redwall Abbey and the surrounding countryside of Mossflower Wood.

Soma SoulWorks is the ministry side of Soma’s coin producing teaching and podcasts that seek to reach  young adult “creatives” especially those working in arts and entertainment.  Chris is an Intel Black Belt recipient and frequent speaker at mobile and game-developer conferences, including GDC (Game Developer Conference), CGDC (Christian Game Developers Conference), Casual Connect, Serious Play, and Intel Innovators Forum.

For a fuller account of Chris’ and Soma’s story, see the first two chapters of it on Soma’s website.

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