The challenge for the Church and for the theologians was to say okay, perhaps that’s what is written. But for example if you consider that God has delivered the Creation in seven days, knowing that nowadays Amazon can deliver everything on Earth overnight, it means that Jeff Bezos has defeated God? Or does it mean something different? And I think it means probably something different.
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The reality is we have been so busy calling people names, obsessing over borders and walls, and spreading misinformation that we haven’t even asked hard questions like why do people move? What does US foreign policy and US trade agreements have to do with migration patterns? Remember when those children started walking from Central America to here, and CBS News and a lot of organizations called them “illegal immigrant” children instead of calling them the refugees that they are? What did we do to Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala so that their countries got so violent that they have to come here? Who started the drug war? What did NAFTA do not only to the United States but to Mexicans, right?
Conspiracies are perfect for simple thinking. Because conspiracy is by definition something that explains everything. A really great conspiracy explains something that has already happened and something that’s going to happen.
What I’m trying articulate here is that there is a really fine balance between how do you spur and invigorate innovation, and then also address security at the same time. Because one cannot drown out the other. Because you’re going to have all kinds of issues.
I’m going to make an argument in this talk that dissent is valuable not merely to establish your moral dimension or to make a moral act or moral posture. It’s essential to scientific progress. So we can’t do without dissent; it’s not an affectation.
Part of what’s really interesting at the moment is that most people, particularly young people, don’t have a lot of faith in institutions. They’re not necessarily excited about this idea that we go to the polls, we elect representatives, those representatives speak for us and that is how change happens.
Behind-the-scenes planning is often overlooked by observers and by the media because it’s what the cameras often can’t capture. I’ve witnessed it for fifteen years at the Albert Einstein Institution. This quiet capacity-building and structural work. The planning and preparations that make movements more effective.
Machine learning systems that we have today have become so powerful and are being introduced into everything from self-driving cars, to predictive policing, to assisting judges, to producing your news feed on Facebook on what you ought to see. And they have a lot of societal impacts. But they’re very difficult to audit.
The future is on the whole a wonderful thing because it will bring us new things that we haven’t seen before. And that’s why we stick around.
If we look at a lot of the things we’ve been speaking about today, be it genetic engineering or the things that occur in our daily lives, the challenge of reproductive rights, or global peace and security, a lot of the stagnation, a lot of the challenges, are actually rooted either in the perception of religion or in the political manipulation of religion.