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‘Artificial Intelligence: Religious Friend or Foe?’

2024 Theological Lecture at Queen’s now available online

Professor Stephen Williams. Colin Metcalfe Photography.
Professor Stephen Williams. Colin Metcalfe Photography.

This year’s Annual Theological Lecture at Queen’s University Belfast – on the theme of ‘Artificial Intelligence: Religious Friend or Foe?’ – is now available to play back on the Church of Ireland and Methodist Chaplaincy’s YouTube channel.  A two–minute preview can be found at www.thehubbelfast.org/annuallecture and the video can be watached here:

The lecture, sponsored by the Church of Ireland Board of Education (Northern Ireland), was delivered in the Great Hall at Queen’s on Monday, 27th May, by Professor Stephen Williams.  Professor Williams is a theologian, author and lecturer who, after retiring from a teaching career, was appointed Honorary Professor of Theology at Queen’s in 2017.

2024 Theological Lecture
2024 Theological Lecture

The title is provocative: artificial intelligence means more than one thing; there are different religious traditions; and ‘friend or foe’ may be false alternatives. Admitting the complexity of the issues, the lecture sets out the challenge of AI to our understanding of what it is to be human, highlighting its critical nature. It ranges from discussion of the nature of the brain in the context of Western culture and the significance of the Church in an attempt to answer the question posed in the title.

Since 1957, the Church of Ireland has organised annual lectures at Queen’s to stimulate and contribute to the discussion of public theology on campus.  Guest lecturers, typically eminent thinkers in their field, have ranged from theologians to scientists, authors to archbishops.  The Board of Education remains grateful to Queen’s University for its contribution in hosting the lectures each year.

The Board of Education (Northern Ireland) represents the Church of Ireland in all educational matters affecting Northern Ireland and nominates representatives of the Church to any education body as required, including the Transferor Representatives’ Council, the Education Authority, and the Controlled Schools’ Support Council.

Dr Peter Hamill

Secretary, Board of Education (NI)
028 9082 8860


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