Christian Theology & Meaning in a Transhuman Age: Let’s begin the Conversation
Rev. Robin Junker-Boyce (she/her), First Congregational Church of Thetford
Futurists at elite universities consider this the most exciting time in history.
Their eschatological hope is to increase safety, decrease crime and end suffering as we know it. In the transhumanistic age, having merged humans with machines, we will no longer be subject to the capricious biological onslaughts due to aging, mental illness, disease, and just plain difficulty. Workplaces will be more efficient, you will be your best self, and the promises of happiness will be endless. As nanotechnology rapidly obtains more and more brain function data, AI will soon decode complex human thoughts. Duke University futurist and legal ethicist Nita Farahany believes these discoveries are extraordinarily exciting. At the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2016, she stated, “The promises of being able to access your own brain, change your own brain, and even potentially access the brains of others is extraordinarily exciting. What we can do as we start to harness what has traditionally been in the black box of our brains is incredibly terrific. But it’s also a little bit terrifying.”
Join me for an introductory discussion about the implications of advanced nanotechnology on cognitive liberty, bodily sovereignty, human privacy, and the theological implications of a rapidly advancing transhuman society. We will overview Nita Farahany’s work as presented at Davos 2023 (moderated by Nicholas Thompson, CEO of The Atlantic). We will define and discuss terms like - singularity, brain transparency, cognitive liberty, AI safety, neuroethics as it relates to the right to privacy of thought, and more.
Come with your wisdom, your questions, and your fondness for what it means to be human. I hope to connect our conversation into a larger dialogue with global interfaith theologians and ethicists confronting this challenging issue.
To prep for the workshop or to consider your level of interest, please read or watch the following:
Ready for Brain Transparency? Nita Farahany, a futurist and legal ethicist at Duke University, speaking at Davos 2023- Moderated by Nicholas Thompson, CEO of The Atlantic.
Brain Transparency, Nita Farahaney, Davos 2016
Technology, Theology and Spirituality in the Digital Age by Dr. Antje Jackelen - Archbishop of the Church of Sweden (December 9, 2020)
How Police Are Using High Tech to Fight Crime - Short clip from 2018
Bill Mckibben’s moving speech, Being Good Enough, at Stanford’s Singularity Summit (2006)
The Battle for Your Brain, by Nita Farahany (debut in March)
McKibben’s book Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age