“Artificial Intelligence: Implications for Ethics and Religion” is an exciting one-day conference to be held on January 30, 2020, at Union Theological Seminary (UTS) in New York, in conjunction with the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS), the Riverside Church and the Greater Good Initiative.
New technologies are transforming our world every day, and the pace of change is only accelerating. In coming years, human beings will create machines capable of out-thinking us and potentially taking on such uniquely-human traits as empathy, ethical reasoning, perhaps even consciousness. This will have profound implications for virtually every human activity, as well as the meaning we impart to life and creation themselves. This conference will provide an introduction for non-specialists to Artificial Intelligence (AI):
What is it? What can it do and be used for? And what will be its implications for choice and free will; economics and worklife; surveillance economies and surveillance states; the changing nature of facts and truth; and the comparative intelligence and capabilities of humans and machines in the future?
Leading practitioners, ethicists and theologians will provide cross-disciplinary and cross-denominational perspectives on such challenges as technology addiction, inherent biases and resulting inequalities, the ethics of creating destructive technologies and of turning decision-making over to machines from self-driving cars to “autonomous weapons” systems in warfare, and how we should treat the suffering of “feeling” machines. The conference ultimately will address how we think about our place in the universe and what this means for both religious thought and theological institutions themselves.
UTS is the oldest independent seminary in the United States and has long been known as a bastion of progressive Christian scholarship. JTS is one of the academic and spiritual centers of Conservative Judaism and a major center for academic scholarship in Jewish studies. The Riverside Church is an interdenominational, interracial, international, open, welcoming, and affirming church and congregation that has served as a focal point of global and national activism for peace and social justice since its inception and continues to serve God through word and public witness. The annual Greater Good Gathering, the following week at Columbia University’s School of International & Public Affairs, focuses on how technology is changing society, politics and the economy – part of a growing nationwide effort to advance conversations promoting the “greater good.”
Introduction to AI: 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.
Mark C. Taylor (Moderator)
Chair, Department of Religion, Columbia University. A leading figure in debates about post-modernism, Taylor has written on topics ranging from philosophy, religion, literature, art and architecture to education, media, science, technology and economics.
Consultant and advisor to companies within tech industry, focusing on innovation, public policy, and business strategy, chairs annual conference on Technology, Knowledge, and Society for Commonground Publishing.
Professor in the Computer and Information Science Department at the University of Pennsylvania, where he holds the National Center Chair, as well as the departments of Economics, Statistics, and Operations, Information and Decisions (OID) in the Wharton School; Founding Director of the Warren Center for Network and Data Sciences; faculty founder and former director of Penn Engineering’s Networked and Social Systems Engineering (NETS) Program, external faculty member of the Santa Fe Institute; author, The Ethical Algorithm.
Founder of Pi Square AI – a decision design company specializing in AI based systems & algorithms, IoT, Augmented Reality & Robotic Process Automation; founder of The Good AI org to drive awareness and consciousness towards transparency in AI.
Ethical Implications: 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Serene Jones (Moderator)
A highly respected scholar and public intellectual, the Rev. Dr. Serene Jones is the 16th President of the historic Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. The first woman to head the 182-year-old institution, Jones occupies the Johnston Family Chair for Religion and Democracy. She is a Past President of the American Academy of Religion, which annually hosts the world’s largest gathering of scholars of religion. She is the author of several books including Trauma and Grace and, most recently, her memoir Call It Grace: Finding Meaning in a Fractured World. Jones, a popular public speaker, is sought by media to comment on major issues impacting society because of her deep grounding in theology, politics, women’s studies, economics, race studies, history, and ethics.
Researcher at Tufts University Human-Robot Interaction Laboratory (HRILab) working on AI ethics and human-robot interaction while drawing upon background in philosophy of religion and theology. Lecturer, Tufts University Department of Computer Science; PhD. ABD Committee on the Study of Religion, Harvard University; Co-author, “Ethics for Psychologists: A Casebook Approach,” (Sage, 2011); Member, IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems.
Director of technology ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara Univ. His work is focused on the ethics of technology, including such topics as AI and ethics, the ethics of technological manipulation of humans, the ethics of mitigation of and adaptation towards risky emerging technologies, and various aspects of the impact of technology and engineering on human life and society, including the relationship of technology and religion (particularly the Catholic Church). Green teaches AI ethics in the Graduate School of Engineering and formerly taught several other engineering ethics courses. He is co-author of the Ethics in Technology Practice corporate technology ethics resources.
Michael J. Quinn
Dean of the College of Science and Engineering at Seattle University. In the early 2000s his focus shifted to computer ethics, and in 2004 he published a textbook, Ethics for the Information Age, that explores moral problems related to modern uses of information technology, such as privacy, intellectual property rights, computer security, software reliability, and the relationship between automation and unemployment. The book, now in its eighth edition, has been adopted by more than 125 colleges and universities in the United States and many more internationally.
Consultant, ethicist, and scholar at Yale University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, where he has chaired the Center’s working research group on Technology and Ethics. Senior advisor to The Hastings Center, fellow at the Center for Law, Science & Innovation at the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law (Arizona State University), fellow at the Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technology. Author, A Dangerous Master: How to keep technology from slipping beyond our control and Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right From Wrong.
Ethical/religious implications: 12:30 – 2:00 p.m.
John Thatamanil (Moderator)
Associate Professor of Theology & World Religions, John eaches a wide variety of courses in the areas of comparative theology, theologies of religious diversity, Hindu-Christian dialogue, the theology of Paul Tillich, theory of religion, and process theology. He is committed to the work of comparative theology—theology that learns from and with a variety of traditions. Professor Thatamanil’s first book is an exercise in constructive comparative theology. The Immanent Divine: God, Creation, and the Human Predicament. An East-West Conversation provides the foundation for a nondualist Christian theology worked out through a conversation between Paul Tillich and Sankara, the master teacher of the Hindu tradition of Advaita Vedanta.
Adjunct professor at Holy Names University, PhD in ethics with focus on theological and technological issues.
Orthodox Rabbi, fellow at Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion, working on a book with Yeshiva University on robots in the law tentatively titled “Almost Human.”
Distinguished Research Professor of Systematic Theology and Ethics, Graduate TheologicalUniversity; His systematic theology, God – The World’s Future, now in its 3rd edition, has been used as a text book in numerous seminaries around the world. For more than a decade he edited Dialog, A Journal of Theology. Along with Robert John Russell he is the co-founder and co-editor of the journal, Theology and Science, at the GTU’s Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences. Ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Associate Research Fellow and Creative Director at The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. He is also the author of The Age of AI: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity. He writes and speaks on various topics including human dignity, ethics, technology, and artificial intelligence. His writing has been featured at Christianity Today, The Gospel Coalition, Providence Journal, Light Magazine, and many more.
religious and theological implications: 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Arnold M. Eisen (Moderator)
Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. Since taking office in 2007, Chancellor Eisen has transformed the education of religious, pedagogical, professional, and lay leaders for North American Jewry, with a focus on graduating highly skilled, innovative leaders who bring Judaism alive in ways that speak authentically to Jews at a time of rapid and far-reaching change.
Associate Professor of Theology and Director of the Center for Applied Christian Ethics at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. Professor Bacote‘s areas of teaching and research include theology and culture, theological anthropology, and faith and work. His numerous published works include The Political Disciple: A Theology of Public Life and Erasing Race: Racial Identity and Theological Anthropology – Black Scholars in White Space. Professor Bacote is a graduate of the Citadel, holds a master’s degrees in divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and a master’s degree in philosophy and PhD in theological and religious studies from Drew University.
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), and Temples of Modernity: Nationalism, Hinduism, and Transhumanism in South Indian Science (Lexington 2018).
Reuter Professor of Science and Religion at St. John’s University and The College of St. Benedict where she teaches Computer Ethics and Doing Ministry in a Technological Age. She is the author of In Our Image: Artificial Intelligence and the Human Spirit; Technology and Religion: Remaining Human in a Co-Created Age; andThe Limits of Perfection; and editor of Religion and the New Technologies.
Associate Professor of Reformed Theology Princeton Theological Seminary. She holds degrees in divinity and economics. Interests and work includes poststructuralist theory, scriptural hermeneutics, political theology, surveillance studies, feminist and queer theologies.
Artificial intelligence (AI) promises to automate and scale solutions to perennial accessibility challenges (e.g., generating image descriptions for blind users). However, research shows that AI-bias disproportionately impacts people already marginalized based on their race, gender, or disabilities, raising questions about potential impacts in addition to AI’s promise. In this talk, Cynthia Bennett will overview broad concerns at the intersection of AI, disability, and accessibility. She will then share details about one project in this research space that led to guidance on human and AI-generated image descriptions that account for subjective and potentially sensitive descriptors around race, gender, and disability of people in images.
A two-day conference on the philosophy of deep learning, organized by Ned Block (New York University), David Chalmers (New York University) and Raphaël Millière (Columbia University), and jointly sponsored by the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience program at Columbia University and the Center for Mind, Brain, and Consciousness at New York University.
The conference will explore current issues in AI research from a philosophical perspective, with particular attention to recent work on deep artificial neural networks. The goal is to bring together philosophers and scientists who are thinking about these systems in order to gain a better understanding of their capacities, their limitations, and their relationship to human cognition.
The conference will focus especially on topics in the philosophy of cognitive science (rather than on topics in AI ethics and safety). It will explore questions such as:
- What cognitive capacities, if any, do current deep learning systems possess?
- What cognitive capacities might future deep learning systems possess?
- What kind of representations can we ascribe to artificial neural networks?
- Could a large language model genuinely understand language?
- What do deep learning systems tell us about human cognition, and vice versa?
- How can we develop a theoretical understanding of deep learning systems?
- How do deep learning systems bear on philosophical debates such as rationalism vs empiricism and classical vs. nonclassical views of cognition.
- What are the key obstacles on the path from current deep learning systems to human-level cognition?
A pre-conference debate on Friday, March 24th will tackle the question “Do large language models need sensory grounding for meaning and understanding ?”. Speakers include Jacob Browning (New York University), David Chalmers (New York University), Yann LeCun (New York University), and Ellie Pavlick (Brown University / Google AI).
- Cameron Buckner (University of Houston)
- Rosa Cao (Stanford University)
- Ishita Dasgupta (DeepMind)
- Nikolaus Kriegeskorte (Columbia University)
- Brenden Lake (New York University / Meta AI)
- Grace Lindsay (New York University)
- Tal Linzen (New York University / Google AI)
- Raphaël Millière (Columbia University)
- Nicholas Shea (Institute of Philosophy, University of London)
Call for abstracts
We invite abstract submissions for a few short talks and poster presentations related to the topic of the conference. Submissions from graduate students and early career researchers are particularly encouraged. Please send a title and abstract (500-750 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 22nd, 2023 (11.59pm EST).
How does the brain cope with Complexity? How do we make decisions when confronted with practically infinite streams of information?
The conference showcases cutting edge research on these questions in Neuroscience and Psychology (neural mechanisms of cognitive control, exploration, decision-making, information demand, memory and creativity), Computer Science (artificial intelligence of curiosity and intrinsic motivation) and Economics (decision making and information demand). Alongside formal presentations, the conference will encourage ample interactions among faculty, students and postdocs through informal discussions and poster presentations.
Submissions for poster presentations and travel awards are due February 15, 2023. Please visit the call for submissions for complete requirements.
Free and open to the public. Registration is required and will open shortly. All in-person attendees must follow Columbia’s COVID-19 policies. Visitors will be asked to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Online attendees will receive a Zoom link. Please email email@example.com with any questions.
The International Conference on Brain Informatics (BI) series has established itself as the world’s premier research conference on Brain Informatics, which is an emerging interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research field that combines the efforts of Cognitive Science, Neuroscience, Machine Learning, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to explore the main problems that lie in the interplay between human brain studies and informatics research.
The 16th International Conference on Brain Informatics (BI’23) provides a premier international forum to bring together researchers and practitioners from diverse fields for presentation of original research results, as well as exchange and dissemination of innovative and practical development experiences on brain Informatics research, brain-inspired technologies and brain/mental health applications.
The key theme of the conference is “Brain Science meets Artificial Intelligence“.
The BI’23 solicits high-quality original research and application papers (both full paper and abstract submissions). Relevant topics include but are not limited to:
- Track 1: Cognitive and Computational Foundations of Brain Science
- Track 2: Human Information Processing Systems
- Track 3: Brain Big Data Analytics, Curation and Management
- Track 4: Informatics Paradigms for Brain and Mental Health Research
- Track 5: Brain-Machine Intelligence and Brain-Inspired Computing
Professor Emery N. Brown
MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital, USA
Profile: Emery Neal Brown is the Warren M. Zapol Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School and at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and a practicing anesthesiologist at MGH. At MIT he is the Edward Hood Taplin Professor of Medical Engineering and professor of computational neuroscience, the Associate Director of the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, and the Director of the Harvard–MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology. Brown is one of only 19 individuals who has been elected to all three branches of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, as well as the first African American and the first anesthesiologist to be elected to all three National Academies.
Professor Bin He
Carnegie Mellon University, USA
Profile: Bin He is the Trustee Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of the Neuroscience Institute, and Professor by courtesy of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. He has made significant research and education contributions to the field of neuroengineering and biomedical imaging, including functional biomedical imaging, noninvasive brain-computer interface (BCI), and noninvasive neuromodulation. His pioneering research has helped transforming electroencephalography from a 1-dimensional detection technique to 3-dimensional neuroimaging modality. His lab demonstrated for the first time for humans to fly a drone and control a robotic arm just by thinking about it using a noninvasive BCI. He is an elected Fellow of International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering (IAMBE), American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), and IEEE. Dr. He served as a Past President of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, the Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering from 2013-2018, the Chair of the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering from 2018-2021. Dr. He has been a Member of NIH BRAIN Initiative Multi-Council Working Group from 2014-2019.
Professor John Ngai
NIH BRAIN Initiative, USA
Profile: John J. Ngai, Ph.D., is the Director of the NIH’s Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. Dr. Ngai earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and biology from Pomona College, Claremont, California, and Ph.D. in biology from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena. He was a postdoctoral researcher at Caltech and at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons before starting his faculty position at the University of California at Berkeley. During more than 25 years as a Berkeley faculty member, Dr. Ngai has trained 20 undergraduate students, 24 graduate students and 15 postdoctoral fellows in addition to teaching well over 1,000 students in the classroom. His work has led to the publication of more than 70 scientific articles in some of the field’s most prestigious journals and 10 U.S. and international patents. Dr. Ngai has received many awards including from the Sloan Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, and McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience. As a faculty member, Dr. Ngai has served as the director of Berkeley’s Neuroscience Graduate Program and Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. He has also provided extensive service on NIH study sections, councils and steering groups, including as previous co-chair of the NIH BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Consortium Steering Group. Dr. Ngai oversees the long-term strategy and day-to-day operations of the NIH BRAIN Initiative as it strives to revolutionize our understanding of the brain in both health and disease.
Professor Helen Mayberg
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, USA
Profile: Helen Mayberg is a neurologist recognized for her neuroimaging studies of brain circuits in depression and their translation to the development of deep brain stimulation as a novel therapeutic for treatment resistant patients. Born and raised in Southern California, she received a BA in Psychobiology from UCLA and a MD from the University of Southern California, then trained in Neurology at Columbia’s Neurological Institute in New York and did a research fellowship in nuclear medicine at Johns Hopkins. She had early academic appointments at Johns Hopkins and the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio, held the inaugural Sandra Rotman Chair in Neuropsychiatry at the University of Toronto, the first Dorothy C. Fuqua Chair in Psychiatric Imaging and Therapeutics at Emory University and is now the Mount Sinai Professor of Neurotherapeutics at the Icahn School of Medicine where she is founding Director of the Nash Family Center for Advanced Circuit Therapeutics. She is a member of the both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine as well as the National Academy of Inventors and American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Professor Vinod Goel
York University, Canada
Profile: Vinod Goel is a professor of cognitive neuroscience at York University, Toronto, Canada. He completed his PhD in cognitive science at UC-Berkeley, and received postdoctoral training in neuroscience at the NIH (NINDS) and the Wellcome Department of Cognitive Neurology, Institute of Neurology, UCL, UK. He has made significant empirical contributions to our understanding of the roles of prefrontal cortex in real-world problem solving and reasoning, hemispheric asymmetry in prefrontal cortex, and models of rationality, using the methodologies of fMRI and lesion studies. He has most recently completed a book reconstructing the role of rationality in human behavior entitled “Reason and Less: Pursuing Food, Sex, and Politics” (The MIT Press, 2022). His current project is to explore the implications of this work on our understanding of reason and legal responsibility.
Professor Amy Kuceyeski
Cornell University, USA
Profile: Amy Kuceyeski is an Associate Professor of Mathematics and Neuroscience in Radiology at Weill Cornell Medicine and the Computational Biology Department at Cornell University. She is the director of the Computational Connectomics (CoCo) Laboratory and the Machine Learning in Medicine group at Cornell. Over the past 14 years, she has been working to understand the human brain using quantitative modeling approaches, including machine learning, to map anatomical and physiological characteristics to behavior. Specifically, she is interested in understanding how brains recover from injury so we can devise strategies, possibly via non-invasive neuromodulation, to support natural recovery processes. She also performs research at the intersection of biological and artificial neural networks that aims to understand how human brains process incoming visual information.
Professor Patrick Purdon
Harvard Medical School, USA
Profile: Patrick L. Purdon, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School and the Nathaniel M. Sims Endowed Chair in Anesthesia Innovation and Bioengineering at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Purdon received his A.B. in Engineering Sciences from Harvard College in 1996, his M.S. in Electrical Engineering from MIT in 1998, and his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from MIT in 2005. Dr. Purdon’s research in neuroengineering encompasses the mechanisms of anesthesia, Alzheimer’s disease and brain health, anesthesia and the developing brain, neural signal processing, and the development of novel technologies for brain monitoring. He has published over 90 peer-reviewed publications, is an inventor on 16 pending patents, and is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. Dr. Purdon has won numerous awards, including the prestigious National Institutes of Health Director’s New Innovator Award.
- 15 April 2023: Full paper submission deadline
- 20 April 2023: Workshop proposal deadline
- 10 May 2023: Abstract presentation submission deadline
- 30 May 2023: Final paper and abstract acceptance notification
- 20 Jun 2023: Accepted paper and abstract registration deadline
- 1-3 Aug 2023: The Brain Informatics Conference
Paper Submission and Publications
Full Paper (Regular):
1. 9-12 pages are strongly encouraged for the regular papers including figures and references in Springer LNCS Proceedings format(https://www.springer.com/us/computer-science/lncs/conference-proceedings-guidelines). Over length papers will be charged for 100$ per page.
2. All papers will be peer-reviewed and accepted based on originality, significance of contribution, technical merit, and presentation quality.
3. All papers accepted (and all workshop & special sessions’ full-length papers) will be published by Springer as a volume of the Springer-Nature LNAI Brain Informatics Book Series(https://link.springer.com/conference/brain).
Abstract (Only for Workshops/Special Sessions):
Research abstracts are encouraged and will be accepted for presentations in an oral presentation format and/or poster presentation format. Each abstract submission should include the title of the paper and an abstract body within 500 words. The abstract will not be included in the conference proceedings to be published by Springer.
High-quality BI conference papers will be nominated for a fast-track review and publication at the Brain Informatics Journal, (https://braininformatics.springeropen.com/) an international, peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary Open Access journal published by Springer Nature. Discount or no open access article-processing fee will be charged for BI conference paper authors.
Special Issues & Books Opportunities:
Workshop/special session organizers and BI conference session chairs may consider and can be invited to prepare a book proposal of special topics for possible book publication in the Springer-Nature Brain Informatics & Health Book Series (https://www.springer.com/series/15148), or a special issue at the Brain Informatics Journal.
1. Accepted full papers will be selected to publish in the Brain Informatics Journal upon revision.
2. Discount or no article-processing fee will be charged for authors of Brain Informatics conference (https://braininformatics.springeropen.com/).
3. The organizers of Workshops and Special-Sessions are invited to prepare a book proposal based on the topics of the workshop/special session for possible book publication in the Springer-Nature Brain Informatics and Health book series (http://www.springer.com/series/15148).
Yejin Choi is Wissner-Slivka Professor and a MacArthur Fellow at the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington. She is also a senior director at AI2 overseeing the project Mosaic and a Distinguished Research Fellow at the Institute for Ethics in AI at the University of Oxford. Her research investigates if (and how) AI systems can learn commonsense knowledge and reasoning, if machines can (and should) learn moral reasoning, and various other problems in NLP, AI, and Vision including neuro-symbolic integration, language grounding with vision and interactions, and AI for social good. She is a co-recipient of 2 Test of Time Awards (at ACL 2021 and ICCV 2021), 7 Best/Outstanding Paper Awards (at ACL 2023, NAACL 2022, ICML 2022, NeurIPS 2021, AAAI 2019, and ICCV 2013), the Borg Early Career Award (BECA) in 2018, the inaugural Alexa Prize Challenge in 2017, and IEEE AI’s 10 to Watch in 2016.