Artificial Intelligence and the CSC

April 20, 2023

Did you see the lead article in Saturday's NYTimes? The headline both tantalizes and promises to address all the practical matters we need to know about Artificial Intelligence (A.I.): "35 Ways Real People are Using A.I. Right Now." The article assumes we readers know that A.I. models have found their way into work, life, play and the academy. Some of the discoveries are hopeful and captivating, from "everything is becoming much easier" to "what used to take me around a half-hour to write now takes one minute." Or even more hopeful, "It feels like I have hired an intern."

The article's investigation ranges from planning diets, gardens and workouts to organizing research for a thesis, skimming dozens of academic articles, and getting homework help.

Some of the material touches on the concerns of scholarship and the lives of Christians.

It is no surprise that several of the sessions at this year's conference deal with A.I. as it impacts our disciplines and future work.

And, it is altogether appropriate that in a CSC plenary gathering, under the theme, "What will be our future?," we ask questions of ultimate importance regarding A.I.

Sharon Dirckx, the 2023 John T. Willis Plenary speaker, a neuroscientist who examines questions of human identity from the perspectives of neuroscience, philosophy, and theology, will move the A.I. conversation into issues of greatest significance through her presentation, "Souls, Minds and Brain: What Does it Mean to be Human in an Age of A.I.?"

Dirckx acknowledges, "The capabilities of A.I. continue to accelerate, seemingly at an alarming rate, in both efficiency and ability to mimic qualities and behaviors that were previously considered to be uniquely human."

During her plenary, Dirckx will raise and address questions of great importance, "How do we navigate such developments? What do they mean for the future of humanity, practically, ethically and ideologically? Is there anything unique about being human or are we merely neurochemical machines that one day will also exist in silicon form?"

Dirckx' lecture will examine questions of human identity in the light of A.I., philosophy and modern neuroscience. Grateful for her expertise and courage, her topic could not be more appropriate.

David Fleer

Director's Comments

As the conference dates are soon approaching, I would like to make you aware of some behind the scenes work and important tips for your participation.

The conference book will go to press in a couple of weeks. This is to say, "all things are nearly ready, come to the feast."

Today is a good day to register!

As further motivation, the early bird rate will expire on May 7. Moreover, seating capacity of our stunning venue will likely require that we cap our total number of registrations. I will keep you posted.

We have finished slotting sessions. You can view them on our sessions page. We will be assigning rooms very soon.

David F