Presentation abstract: Artificial intelligence is a priority for tech companies today, but as technologists work on what AI can do, ethicists are raising concerns about what AI should do. While religious traditions provide a wealth of moral and ethical wisdom, secular materialist frameworks have become the acceptable rhetorical scaffolding for ethical principles in technical circles. How does worldview affect our approach to AI? Does a Christian worldview have anything unique to contribute to the conversation? How might Christian texts, teachings, and traditions make a valuable contribution to AI ethics? I propose that humanistic ethical principles are necessary but not sufficient to ensure robust and beneficial AI. By foregrounding Christian voices in a conversation dominated by materialist thought, I bring viewpoint diversity to the field of AI ethics, deepening awareness of the Christian belief in a creative goodness that cannot be accomplished by our own will or power, and challenging us to think beyond a minimum-standard culture of ethics and toward a robust culture of righteousness.
Dr. Gretchen Huizinga is a Research Fellow and Board member of AI and Faith, an organization that brings the wisdom of the world’s great religions to the moral and ethical challenges of artificial intelligence. In addition to her academic work, Gretchen hosts a podcast for Microsoft Research, where she has interviewed more than a hundred scientists on the latest innovations in technology research. She also hosts a podcast for the Beatrice Institute, exploring the convergence of artificial intelligence and the Christian intellectual tradition. Gretchen is an English major at heart but holds master’s degrees in both Mass Communication and Learning Sciences & Human Development. She recently completed her PhD at the University of Washington with a dissertation titled Righteous AI: The Christian voice in the ethical AI conversation. When she’s not researching or podcasting, Dr. Huizinga writes and speaks on topics at the intersection of AI, ethics, and Christianity. She wears better shoes than academia demands or a podcast warrants.