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Artificial Intelligence and Religion Exploratory Session

Call for Proposals for November Meeting

“Artificial” Caring? Healthcare and Artificial Intelligence

Scholars of religion and theology add a crucial voice to the ethics of artificial intelligence. In keeping with this year’s conference theme, we seek papers that address how religion and theology together might explore violence and nonviolence related to AI. We will have two sessions. One session will focus on theory and one on A.I. experiments.

For our theory session, we are interested in papers that focus on A.I. and healthcare. A.I. use in healthcare includes data collection, social and emotional support via bots, nudges for people with dementia that may help them remain in their homes, help with cleaning in hospitals, and assistance in the discovery of new therapies and treatments. A.I. ethical issues such as privacy, surveillance, job replacement, governance and regulation loom large.  The meanings of critical concepts such as care, compassion, being human, relationship, intelligence, and treatment are becoming more complex. AI can help us meet healthcare objectives such as the alleviation of suffering and improvement of well-being. And sometimes AI gets it wrong. In keeping with this year’s conference theme, we welcome creative conversation at the intersections of religion, theology, A.I., and violence and nonviolence in healthcare systems. Case studies are encouraged.

We also seek proposals that address A.I. issues outside of healthcare, in relationship to religion and theology. We are particularly, though not exclusively, interested in proposals that show experiments using artificial intelligence in the study of religion and theology. Scholars that are finding new applications for A.I. are encouraged to submit an abstract proposal even if their project is ongoing. Follow-up reports on projects already presented are likewise welcome. 

Statement of Purpose

The study of religion and its interactions with culture has long been a crucial aspect of the humanities. As our world continues to evolve and change, it is more important than ever to understand the ways in which religion shapes and is shaped by the societies and cultures it exists within. One area of our society that is currently undergoing rapid development is artificial intelligence (A.I.). As A.I. technology advances, it is increasingly likely that it will have a significant impact on religion, theologies, and religious studies. For this reason, it is important for religious studies scholars/theologians to carefully consider the ways in which A.I. might affect and be affected by religious practices, beliefs, and communities. This exploratory session provides a forum for scholars to engage in critical and interdisciplinary discussions of the ways in which A.I. is impacting religion and religious studies, as well as the ways in which religious language and concepts are used in discussions of artificial intelligence. By bringing together experts from a wide range of disciplines, this exploratory session provides valuable insights into the complex and rapidly-evolving relationship between A.I. and religion.


Steering Committee Members


Review Process

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members