Cyborgs Writing
Cyborgs Writing Podcast
Ep. 1 How Religion Shapes My Approach to GenAI
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Ep. 1 How Religion Shapes My Approach to GenAI

A student conversation with Diana Zalph
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Transcript

No transcript...

A robot dressed as a priest giving a sermon.

Welcome to the first podcast episode of Cyborgs Writing. This grew out of a conversation I had with

, one of my students, who interviewed me about religion and technology for a class project. When she mentioned the word “podcast,” I realized this would be the perfect opportunity to try out the podcast feature recently added to Substack.

So in this episode, you'll hear Diana ask me thoughtful questions about how my religious background shapes my perspective on and approach to artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies. I hope that this conversation provides an insightful window into how our beliefs inform the ways we engage with technology in our teaching, writing, and everyday lives.

I may invite other students to join future episodes as we continue to unpack the complex relationship between technology, communication, and what it means to be human. For now, grab a warm drink, settle into your favorite chair, and enjoy this thought-provoking discussion.

Synopsis

In this wide-ranging discussion, Diana and I explore how technology and religion shape and influence each other, using examples like the printing press and its role in the Reformation. We discuss how technology facilitates religious practice, from ancient song and poetry to modern church websites and online tithing. I share how my Eastern Orthodox faith shapes my view of technology as a tool that can be used for good or ill depending on context and application.

Key topics include:

  • The interplay between religion and technology as "co-constitutive" forces

  • How technologies like the printing press have affected religious doctrine and practice

  • The influence of individualism on contemporary religious interpretation

  • Concerns about AI threatening religion by promising digital immortality

  • The need for wisdom in discerning the right uses of emerging technologies

  • Hopes that technology can help people become more virtuous and foster human flourishing

I explain how my religious perspective makes me hesitant to attribute true rationality or ethical capability to AI systems. But I argue the solution is not to shun technology, but to thoughtfully integrate it in ways that enrich our shared human values. I may just invite students to join me for future episodes as we continue to unpack this complex and fascinating terrain.

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Lance Cummings