Call for Participants: "Blurred Boundaries" ALC

Academic Learning Community Call for Participants - Fall 2016

Blurred Boundaries: Prospects of the Human/Humanoid Engagement


  • Steven Kraftchick, Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Candler School of Theology & Laney Graduate School
  • Mark Goldfeder, Senior Lecturer, School of Law


This ALC is designed to encourage a dialogue among faculty interested in how we should construct a rigorously founded ethic for our present and coming technological age.  


The news is filled with reports of technological breakthroughs almost on a daily basis. Self-driving cars, the internet of things, micro-sensors in almost everything we own, and soon to be part of our very bodies. Our relationship to the technologies is changing with rapidity, almost outstripping our capacities to understand these changes. In some sense, human beings are fast becoming “cyborgs” as changes in nanotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and genetic engineering reorient our social, physical, and mental makeup. These changes are affecting more than single individuals, they are making an impact on our society and our physical environment, raising fundamental questions about what humans are, what their relationship to the non-human might or should be, what their roles in the workplace will be, as well as how or if they should control their biological makeup and destiny.

These questions cut across disciplines raising ethical and legal questions as well as moral and physical ones. This suggests that they are best discussed by a range of people, doctors, lawyers, anthropologists, public health officials, political science and business thinkers, as well as sociologists, theologians, philosophers, and historians. But the range of input is not limited even to these disciplines. Much of our most interesting and imaginative treatment of these questions occurs through literature, film, and the arts. The goal is to surface the fundamental questions and challenges that arise from this change in the human being’s capacities to control its destiny.


  • We anticipate 4 meetings for the group—September 7, October 5, November 2, and November 30.
  • We will meet 11:30-1:00.
  • When applying, please be sure you are able to attend all meetings.

The meetings are open to faculty with interest or work in the areas mentioned above, although our limit is 20 participants.

Our discussions will center on readings about topics such as: dynamic Artificial Intelligence, Human Persons/Robotic Persons, Volition and Identity, Bioethics, Post-Transhumanism, technological therapy or technological enhancement, Robotics and disabilities, the Future of the Human.
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