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Artificial Intelligence: “Issues, Insights, Integration" - C-A-N- Conference / Workshop

The workshop is being organised as a partnership between the Christian Academic Network and Thinking Faith Network

Saturday, 10 March 2018 from 11:00 to 15:45 (GMT)

Artificial Intelligence:  “Issues, Insights,...

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Fee includes drinks. Bring your own sandwiches.
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Event Details

Artificial Intelligence:
"Issues, Insights, Integration"

Conference / Workshop

Why this confernce / workshop?
We are all aware of the exponential growth of A.I. and the huge investments in its further development. It is already working everywhere in the background of our lives, enabling companies, governments and others to make inferences about us and the world.
Might A.I. be as disruptive as were the wheel, the printing press, the steam engine which powered the industrial revolution, and the internet—to mention just a few? All of these have affected our personal lives, academic disciplines and the spread of the gospel of Christ.
So what opportunities and threats exist with A.I. and what can our contribution be as Christians to the way forward?

 Who should come?
All those interested in a thoughtful consideration, from a Christian perspective, of the impact of A. I. on both our individual lives, disciplines and the society / world we live in.

Why come?
Come to listen, to share, to engage and keep our faith relevant in a dynamic environment

We aim to help participants return

  • better equipped to integrate their faith and daily work;
  • encouraged to glorify Christ on the campus;

We also aim to disseminate our discussions, understandings, encouragements and insights to a much wider audience.

Abstracts and Biographies of speakers are included at the end

10.30 Coffee
11.00 Welcome and introductions
11.05 Session 1: Issues
      Prof. Ian Wells – Birth and History of AI
      Kay Giesecke – Application and Impact of AI
      Prof. John Wyatt – The Uses and Abuses of AI
12.30 Lunch
13.15 Session 2: Insights
      Dr. Jeremy Kidwell – Theological Insights on AI
Session 3: Integration
      Prof. Andrew Basden – Christian Inspired Integration in AI
Session4: Developing Christian Perspectives on AI
Summary & devotional
15.45 Tea and departure

NB Drinks will be provided - please bring your own packed lunch

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For detailed location map click here (Building 1 on map)


Birth and History of AI – When it started, where it went and how it lost its way – Prof Ian Wells This brief, and at times nostalgic, stroll through the history of AI begins in the 1970s with a visit to the MYCIN expert system and its contributions to the field including representing knowledge, reasoning under uncertainty and justifying conclusions.  Moving on to the 1980s and 1990s we will explore the development of AI technology, including shells and languages, look at some successful applications and discover the influence of AI on the design of conventional information systems.  Finally, we will arrive in the new millennium, search expectantly for the Fifth Generation and ask ourselves where AI lost its way and if it has found it again now.

Application and Impact of AI - Is Artificial Intelligence Impacting Speech and Language Therapy? - Kay Giesecke
Though apps for speech therapy have been available since 2010, only recently have researchers started looking at using artificial intelligence both for diagnosing speech and language problems and for instructing students how to improve speech sounds and language.   This talk will examine how using apps and tutoring systems have been used in speech therapy thus far, but also where it appears to be heading in 2018 and beyond. There will be a discussion of some of the problems in using natural language processing and speech recognition in working with people who have communication disorders.   Also an analysis of how procedural use of apps lines up with research based “best practices” in speech therapy will be discussed.

Uses and Abuses of AI - Ethical challenges and human implications – Prof John Wyatt
Rapid advances in AI are raising new and complex ethical issues.  How can this powerful technology be applied in ways that enhance human capabilities and promote human flourishing?  Where is there potential for abuse and how might new government regulation play a role?   How do we understand the uniqueness of human beings in orthodox Christian thinking if machines are increasingly able to simulate human-like behaviour and relationality?

Theological Insights on AI – Big Data and Self-learning in Social Research – Jeremy Kidwell
AI is becoming increasingly ubiquitous, and not in the dramatic and exotic ways depicted by Hollywod over the last three decades, but in increasingly mundane and domestic ways. With the integration of Internet of Things (IoT) and other digital devices, even cars to the cloud and the further assimilation of our daily lives into the fabric of social media, the use of algorithms and self-learning AI have become commonplace. This is a new frontier in terms of the deployment of technology and overdue for close scrutiny by philosophers and theologians. In this paper, I’ll explore the ways that Christian theology may help to provide some clarity on these issues. Though my current academic work is in the humanities, I worked in the IT industry for a decade before becoming an academic, so am happy to have more technical discussions on these things if that would be useful for your group

Christian Inspired Integration in AI - Bringing together five silos of AI – Andrew Basden
Artificial intelligence is usually discussed in several distinct silos, among which there is very little dialogue or mutual understanding: 

1.  Nature of computers and humans, and the AI question;
2.  Use of AI by people and organisations: where AI might provide benefit and where harm (including moral issues and issues of faith);
3.  Features of AI systems: their algorithms, data, user interactions, protocols, etc.;
4.  AI and society: the impact of each on the other, for good or ill;
5.  Developing AI applications, and the responsibilities of developers.

There is a need for an integrative view, but different philosophic assumptions undergird each area.  Professor Basden will discuss how this might be achieved, drawing out the foundational principles of each area, with mild reference to the 'Christian' philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd. 


Prof. Ian Wells is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Surrey and a Director in the Division of Medical Sciences at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology in North Korea.  Before he retired in 2011 he worked as a clinical scientist in the NHS for 35 years and was a pioneer in the field of laboratory information systems.  He studied part-time for a PhD in the medical applications of AI at the University of Surrey during the 1980s and was subsequently invited back to teach AI to MSc students.  His research interests have included applying AI principles to the design of medical software and the development of expert systems using modern database tools.

Kay Giesecke received a BFA from Southern Methodist University (1971) and a MS from University of Texas in Dallas (1996) - both in communication disorders. She worked for twelve years (1971-1983) as a public school speech-language pathologist and has been in private practice in speech-language pathology since 1992. She has specialized in treating Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) since 1996, founding two private practices in Texas that specialize in the treatment of children diagnosed with CAS, Apraxia Dallas and Apraxia Austin.  Currently, 70% of the caseload at the initial private practice, Apraxia Dallas, has a diagnosis of CAS, which includes clients from all over Texas. Ms. Giesecke has both her Texas state license to practice speech-language pathology and her Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech and shearing Association. She has been presenting workshops at conventions, regional educational service centers, and school districts since 2005.

Prof. John Wyatt is Emeritus Professor of Neonatal Paediatrics, Ethics and Perinatology at University College London and previously worked as a Consultant Neonatologist at University College London Hospitals. He is co-Principal Investigator for a research project based at the Faraday Institute investigating the implications for human self-understanding of recent advances in artificial intelligence and robotic technology.   In this role he provides research supervision and guidance for junior academic staff.  He participates frequently in the teaching and public dissemination activities of the Faraday Institute.  He continues to lecture at undergraduate and postgraduate level both nationally and internationally in topics relating to biomedical ethics and the wider implications of technological advances.  He participates frequently in public meetings and debates and occasional radio and television programmes concerning topical issues in biomedical ethics

Dr. Jeremy Kidwell is a lecturer in theological ethics at the University of Birmingham. In his research Jeremy explores the ethical issues which lie at the intersection of “nature” and “culture” ranging from ecological ethics, activist studies, religious conceptions of labor to the philosophy of technology. His most recent book The Theology of Craft and the Craft of Work (Routledge, 2016) explores an ecological theology of craft, developed in conversation with ancient accounts of craft work and contemporary writing on work and design. Prior to his academic work, Jeremy worked as an engineer and trainer in telecommunications and information technology and he continues to provide consulting services on network security, infrastructure, and the use of information technology in teaching and learning.

Prof. Andrew Basden is Professor of Human Factors and Philosophy in Information Systems at the University of Salford Business School. He employs the 'Christian' philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd to understand information technology, including artificial intelligence, in its technology, its benefits and its impact on society, as discussed in his recent book, 'Foundations of Information Systems: Research and Practice' (Routledge 2018).  In the 1980s, Prof. Basden worked in artificial intelligence in the chemical industry and the surveying profession in the 1980s, creating one of the most successful expert systems of the time.  Returning to academic life, he sought to understand the success and failure of such systems, proposing a Client-Centred methodology for their development, the key theme of which was responsibility.  He developed user-centred expert systems development software, then widened his interests to societal and moral issues in information systems.

Do you have questions about Artificial Intelligence: “Issues, Insights, Integration" - C-A-N- Conference / Workshop? Contact The workshop is being organised as a partnership between the Christian Academic Network and Thinking Faith Network

When & Where

Birkbeck University - Room Mal624
Entrance off Torrington Square
WC1E 7HX London
United Kingdom

Saturday, 10 March 2018 from 11:00 to 15:45 (GMT)

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