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News Release

Symposium to Explore Scientific and Religious Perspectives on Artificial Intelligence

Bethlehem, Pa., March 30, 2006—Moravian Theological Seminary, in conjunction with the Moravian College Philosophy Department, is hosting a science and religion symposium, “Artificial Intelligence, Cybertheology and the Human Prospect,” on Wednesday, April 5. The program will explore issues of human nature and mankind’s future generated by recent advances in robotics and artificial intelligence.

The day-long event will be facilitated by Dr. Anne Foerst and Dr. Mary Doria Russell. Foerst is assistant professor of computer science, adjunct professor of theology, and director of NEXUS: The Religion and Science Dialog Project at St. Bonaventure University. She is the author of God in the Machine: What Robots Teach Us about Humanity and God as well as a contributing editor to Spirituality and Health.

Russell is the well-known science fiction novelist of bestsellers The Sparrow, Children of God, and A Thread of Grace. Her books have been recognized worldwide with nine literary awards.

Throughout the day, the women will explore such questions as: How “human” are scientific creations? By what criteria does one define “humanness”? If we are created in God’s image, and robots in ours, what is robots’ status as sentient beings? Computer-generated works of art and music will be demonstrated and displayed as participants wrestle with the answers. Additionally, at least two robots will be on hand.

The symposium runs from 10:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. in the Seminary’s Bahnson Center, located at 60 West Locust Street in Bethlehem. The cost to participate is $25, but those in attendance will receive 0.35 continuing education units. For more information, contact Millie Román-Buday at 610-861-1519.