2017 Philosophy Symposium – “Vulnerable Humanity, Predictable Machines” (Part 2)

humanity_machines_michelangelo_1Co-directed by Merlin CCC (in conjunction with Tim Holmes, local and internationally-renowned artist, and Pastor Russ Danaher, ADA Coordinator, Montana Department of Corrections) and hosted by Carroll College,  “Vulnerable Humanity, Predictable Machines” (Part 2) was the second of three community events geared to initiate a public discussion about the human-technology relationship and the promises and perils of artificial intelligence (AI).  The free symposium took place in Simperman Hall at Carroll College on Thursday, April. 27th 2017.

View the symposium by clicking the play button on the video below.

Symposium Theme

In our first symposium we discussed the human-technology relationship and the promises and perils of artificial intelligence in terms of some of the less emphasized properties of the human spirit — namely, our propensity to be vulnerable, unpredictable, arbitrary, and at times, unreasonable. The suggestion was that it was these things (not our ability to reason) that make material reductionism nonsensical and, thus save humanity from a life of artificial robotic realities.

In this symposium, we continued our investigation of the human-technology relationship.  Panelists first explored some of the uses and meanings of vulnerability, as well as its relationship to the human spirit.  They then considered various visions of our future technological world (is there reason to be optimistic? pessimistic?) and looked at some of the ethical implications posed by an increasingly technology-dependent and artificially-intelligent world.  Specifically, what are some of the less obvious implications of our technologies and all-connected network when viewed as extensions of ourselves? And what do our creations say about us and where we’re going?  View/download the complete symposium abstract here!

Our Panel

Our Q & A-style symposium featured a distinguished panel of invited guest speakers from a variety of disciplines, including:  Dr. Eric Hall, Ph.D. (Associate Professor of Theology, Carroll College), Edward Gray, M.S., LCPC (Depth Psychotherapist), Dr. Kelly Cline, Ph.D. (Astrophysicist & Associate Professor of Mathematics, Carroll College), Dr. Mark Smillie, Ph.D. (Professor of Philosophy, Carroll College), and Dr. Nikki Honzel, Ph.D. (Cognitive Neuroscientist & Assistant Professor of Psychology, Carroll College).

Thank you to our guest panelists, our symposium facilitator (Dr. John Ries), community members (80+ individuals!!!), Carroll College and the Depth Psychology Alliance!  Thank you also to Ryan Hazen for recording our event & facilitating livestream access & to Alex Ramirez for photographing our event (see photos below).