We are pleased to introduce four new Founding Members this month, and excited that you have answered our invitation to bring your expertise to key subject matter areas –military ethics, Hindu perspectives on AI by a pioneering AI computer scientist, science and theology, and technology and community – as well as adding to our faith diversity. A warm welcome to:
Douglas Estes, PhD is a professor of New Testament and practical theology, most recently at South University in Columbia, South Carolina, and an author of numerous books and articles on theology, including many focused on technology. He received his PhD in Theology from the University of Nottingham, UK. Douglas comes by his interest in theology and science from both disciplines, having earned a B.Sc. degree in chemistry from Virginia Military Institute and two masters degrees – one in Theology and one in Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Seminary, before earning his PhD.
Douglas has written or edited nine books. His most recent concerning technology is Braving the Future: Christian Faith in a World of Limitless Tech (Herald, 2018). He has a forthcoming two-volume on Tolkien and Theology. Douglas contributes articles on faith, science and technology regularly to Christianity Today, and is editor of Didaktikos, the journal for theological education. In addition, he has written numerous essays, articles, and book reviews as identified in his personal website. Media mentions of his work have appeared on CNN.com, local NPR, K-Love, Christian radio stations around the US, and a number of regional newspapers.
Douglas has sixteen years of pastoral ministry experience (churches in NC, NY, CA, and AZ), and is a fellow in the Center for Pastor Theologians, at whose Techne Conference in 2019 he presented on “Why We Get Technology Wrong.” Prior to his position at South, Douglas taught at Phoenix Seminary and Western Seminary. He resides in Columbia, SC, with his wife Noël and their four children.
Shannon E. French is a full professor in philosophy at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), where she has taught since 2008. Her primary research field is military ethics; especially conduct of war issues, ethical leadership, command climate, warrior transitions, moral injury, and the future of warfare. Shannon also holds a secondary appointment in the School of Law, is the Inamori Professor in Ethics, is the Director of the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence, and directs the first Master’s Degree (MA) program in military ethics in the United States. Prior to coming to CWRU, Shannon taught for 11 years at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, where she was a tenured member of the Ethics department and Associate Chair of the division of Leadership, Ethics, and Law.
Shannon’s other scholarly interests include corporate and organizational ethics, meta-ethics, moral psychology, neuroethics, and ethics and technology (including emerging tech). This diverse focus fits well with the mission of the Inamori Center which Shannon directs – to “foster the development of future leaders who will, in the words of Kazuo Inamori, ‘Serve humankind through ethical deeds rather than actions based on self-interest and selfish desires.’”
Her publications include The Code of the Warrior, now in its second edition, edited volumes on military ethics, , now in its second edition, edited volumes on military ethics, and many diverse book chapters and articles with recent titles ranging from “Artificial Intelligence in Military Decision-Making” to “Neuroethics, Dehumanization, and the Prevention of Moral Injury” to “Military Neuro-Interventions: Solving the Right Problems for Ethical Outcomes” to “Strategic Dissent in the Military.” Shannon is currently working on a book on ethics and artificial intelligence.
Shannon continues to actively engage with the U.S. military and other defense-related research and analysis organizations. She is an LME (legal, moral, and ethical) consultant for the Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA) and was a non-resident Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). In addition, she is the editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Ethical Leadership, an associate editor for the Journal of Military Ethics, and an editorial board member for the Journal of Character and Leadership Integration, as well as an active member of the European Chapter of the International Society for Military Ethics (Euro-ISME). Since 2017 she also serves as the General Hugh Shelton Distinguished Chair in Ethics for the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Foundation.
Thanks to Founding Member Rear Admiral (ret) Margaret Kibben for introducing us to Shannon. In addition to Margaret, Shannon has longstanding ties to our Founding Member Don Howard at Notre Dame, who is also a leading expert on military ethics. We are delighted to have this growing nucleus of deep knowledge and expertise around the intriguing and sometimes alarming emergence of autonomous weaponry and other challenges from the application of artificial intelligence to the rules and practice of warfare.
Rajiv Malhotra is the founder of Infinity Foundation, a non-profit based in Princeton, USA. Initially trained as a Physicist, and then as a Computer Scientist specializing in Artificial Intelligence in the 1970s, he became an entrepreneur and founded and ran several IT companies in 20 countries. Rajiv serves as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Center for Indic Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and is a a Senior Advisor to the Indian think-tank, Defense Research and Studies. He is on the Advisory Board of the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla. A key interest of Rajiv has been to interpret the Dharma for our times, a need he considers vital given the sweeping changes and challenges we face. His trail blazing work spans key areas including Indian Mind Sciences, Studies on Comparative Religions, Sanskritizing English, creation of new vocabulary for the dharmically minded. More details of his work are found on https://rajivmalhotra.com
Since the early 1990s, Rajiv Malhotra has been researching civilizations and their engagement with technology from a historical, social sciences and mind sciences perspective. He has authored several best-selling books (https://rajivmalhotra.com/books/); his latest book Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Power: 5 Battlegrounds is a wakeup call to action, compelling public intellectuals to be better informed and more engaged while educating the social segments most at risk to demand a seat at the table where policies on Artificial Intelligence are being formulated.
Michael Sacasas is the Associate Director for Educational Programming at the Christian Study Center of Gainesville where he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He earned his MA in Theological Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary in 2002. Michael was later a doctoral candidate at the University of Central Florida studying the relationship between technology and society with a particular focus on the work of Hannah Arendt. Along the way Michael has taught in a variety of settings, served as a school administrator, and written extensively on technology and society. He is an Associate Fellow in Ethics and Culture at the Greystone Theological Institute and, for three years, directed Greystone’s Center for the Study of Ethics and Technology.
Michael has written for The New Atlantis, The New Inquiry, Real Life Magazine, Mere Orthodoxy, Rhizomes, The American, and Second Nature Journal. His work has also been cited in places like The Atlantic, Thought and Action, The New York Times, and at least one book by a former vice-president. He writes The Convivial Society, a regular newsletter on technology and society. Michael and Sarah have been married since 2008 and are currently delighted and exhausted by the task of raising their two young daughters.
Michael is most excited around the intersection of his work and the mission of AI&F around the interfaith explorations of technology’s moral and spiritual dimensions.