Do engineers and God have anything in common? At allthingsnew.tech, we explore the intersection of theology and technology, ask the hard questions, and create conversations. Join us as we think aloud with tech innovators, theologians, and enthusiasts from the Bay Area and beyond.
Bridging the Sacred and Secular in Technology
Happy New Year! Thanks to all of our listeners for tuning in last year, and we are excited for what's coming up at ATN this year.
Our first episode in 2021 features a conversation with Nathan Barczi, executive director at MIT's Octet Collaborative. He is also a former economist-turned associate pastor at Christ the King Presbyterian Church. In this episode, ATN host Paul Taylor and Nathan delve into a wide variety of topics encompassing faith, technology, and science. Join them as they talk about the Christian perspective on creation, Nathan's work with Harvard Medical School's pgED project, and the role of Christianity in shaping technology ethics--both in academia and industry.
Nathan Barczi has served as Associate Pastor at Christ the King Presbyterian Church since 2014, where he was awarded the John Stott award from the Creation Project at the Henry Center, a grant that supported him and his congregation in a year exploring the doctrine of creation in an age of science with eminent scientists and theologians. He is a cohort facilitator for the Boston Fellows, and a fellow of the Center for Pastor Theologians. His Christianity Today article about his work with Harvard geneticists exploring the bioethics of gene editing won an Evangelical Press Association Award. Prior to serving in full-time vocational ministry, he was an economic consultant for The Brattle Group and an assistant economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He holds a PhD in theology from the University of Nottingham and a PhD in economics from MIT. He did his undergraduate work at Stanford University in his native Silicon Valley. He lives with his wife (another Bay Area native) and three children in Somerville, Massachusetts.
Building Community in the Digital Sphere
We're happy to share a new podcast episode with Angelo Blancaflor, Intervarsity USA's evangelism communications manager and ATN's newest team member (welcome, Angelo!). ATN host Paul and Angelo have a fascinating conversation about digital ministry in the current pandemic. What is digital ministry? How do we use technology for evangelism, ministry, and outreach--for example, for college students? How can communities adapt to our predominantly online existence, in order to connect meaningfully with one another? We hope you enjoy exploring these questions and more!
Angelo Blancaflor serves as the Communications Manager for InterVarsity’s Evangelism department, where he creates online evangelism resources and training for thousands of college students around the country. He is the co-conference chair of PassionTalks 2020, which hosts humble dialogue around pressing issues in the world. Angelo lives in Chicago, IL with his wife, Alison. You can follow him on instagram @evangeloism.
Taking Faith Online
We're excited to share a new episode with ATN host Paul Taylor and our guest Nona Jones, head of faith-based partnerships at Facebook. As an advocate of digital ministry, Nona is passionate about building faith-based communities online. In their conversation, Paul and Nona talk about how technology is shaping church and ministry (especially relevant in this pandemic!). They also share thoughtful ideas around how Christians can think about digital platforms, such as social media. Tune in for their insights and stories!
Nona Jones is a rare combination of preacher, author, business leader, entrepreneur, pastor and success strategist with more than fourteen years of executive leadership experience across multiple sectors.
Nona has been profiled by ESSENCE Magazine as an “Under 40 Woman to Watch” and Florida Trend Magazine as one of Florida’s “30-Something All Stars.” She is currently President of the Gainesville (FL) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated and serves on the University of Florida Digital Advisory Council. She most recently served as Secretary of the Florida Juvenile Justice Association Board of Directors and on the Georgia Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force. She is a graduate of Leadership Florida and the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program, a unique leadership development initiative led by President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush. For more about Nona, visit her website: https://www.nonajones.com/.
Integrating Ethics with Technology
"Ethical problems are like birds. We're surrounded by birds all the time [...] but you don't necessarily notice them. If you want to notice that they're around, you have to choose to notice them."
Our newest episode features Brian Green, the director of technology ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. In their conversation, ATN host Paul Taylor and Brian explore a complex yet significant topic of technology ethics: what it is, how it's related to the Christian perspective, and why it's important. They also talk about ways that the tech industry can apply ethics when building technology (including for AI and space exploration!). Listen in for these great points of discussion and more.
Brian Patrick Green is the director of technology ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. His work is focused on the ethics of technology, including such topics as AI and ethics, the ethics of space exploration and use, and the relationship of technology and religion (particularly the Catholic Church). He 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.
Green is a member of the Safety-Critical AI working group at Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society. He also coordinates the Center’s partnership with The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, the Hackworth grant program, the Technology and Ethics Faculty Group, the Environmental Ethics Fellows, and several other initiatives. Additionally, he has been published, interviewed, or mentioned in media including America, The Atlantic, The China Global Television Network, CNN.com, The Daily Beast, IEET, Nature, and NBC Bay Area.
His background includes doctoral and master's degrees in ethics and social theory from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, and his undergraduate degree is in genetics from the University of California, Davis. Between college and graduate school, he served for two years in the Jesuit Volunteers International teaching high school in the Marshall Islands.
AI and Theology
How should Christians think about artificial intelligence (AI)?
Our latest episode explores this intriguing question with ATN host Paul Taylor and guest Tom Kehler, co-founder and CEO of Crowdsmart. An AI pioneer, Tom has a long history of work in technology dating back to some of the earliest formations of AI in the 1980s. At Crowdsmart, he leads the development of AI that makes better and unbiased predictions of investment success.
Tune into this episode to hear Tom's insights into theology and AI; his personal journey from wanting to be a missionary to finding his calling as a technology executive; and wisdom for Christian technologists looking to ground their work in faith. We hope you enjoy the conversation!
Tom Kehler is the Co-founder & CEO of CrowdSmart, with over 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur and general manager in software and related businesses.
Prior to CrowdSmart, Tom founded Informative, a startup that helped major brands (LEGO, P&G, NBC, Intuit, among others) to engage consumers, improve loyalty and build their Net Promoter Score. Informative sold to Satmetrix in 2007. Prior to that, Tom was CEO of Connect, an eCommerce company, which he took public in 1996. Prior to that, Tom helped build IntelliCorp as CEO and led the company to an IPO in 1983.
Tom received a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and applied physics from Drexel University.
Creative and Created in God's Image
Episode 11 features Sherol Chen, software engineer at Google Stadia and founder + CEO of PassionTalks. An avid gamer, Sherol is passionate about using artificial intelligence to tell stories in game design. In this episode, ATN host Paul Taylor and Sherol discuss how creating games points to the biblical creation story; the challenges Christians face in gaming; and the power of storytelling--all while bonding over their favorite games. We hope you enjoy listening to their fun, insightful conversation!
At Google, Sherol has advocated for Machine Learning for Cloud enterprises, worked in Research at Google Brain for Machine Learning in Music and Creativity for project Magenta, and built algorithmic search results for YouTube. She's taught Artificial Intelligence for Stanford and around the world in Kazakhstan, China, India, Chile, and Peru. Her PhD work is in Computer Science, researching storytelling and Artificial Intelligence at the Expressive Intelligence Studio. Currently, Sherol is working on applied research in AI-enabled believable characters for the Stadia gaming platform at Google.
Sherol is also a founding member of the Google Inter-Belief Network and serves as an inaugural steering committee member for the Google Christian Fellowship. Her most meaningful entrepreneurial accomplishment to date is the band she founded in grad school, appropriately named the Terminal Degree Jazz Band. Sherol is also the founder and CEO of Passion Talks International, encouraging the voice for faith-driven excellence and academic curiosity for over a decade. All her opinions are her own and do not represent her affiliated institutions.