CHARLOTTE, N.C.—At Facebook’s F8 conference this spring, the social media giant announced that a future ethics board will monitor the technology that allows users to experience brain-computer interface.
A business writer with The Lincolnian Online news organization reported on the development that is aimed to prevent ethics violations, noting that plans for the board—and the technology—are in the early stages.
“Would technology that enables our brains to directly communicate our thoughts into a computer aid in areas such as medicine, education and other realms?” Land asked. “Absolutely. However, these advancements come with great ethical responsibilities. For example, will such computer technology read our minds without our permission? If the answer is yes, I can think of no greater violation of individual personhood and privacy. Just because something is possible doesn’t mean it won’t impact human beings on an ethical level. As Christians, we are implored to ‘bring every thought captive’ to Christ, and that includes how science and technology affects all of us daily.”
The debate over the ethics of brain-computer interface comes on the heels of news that Facebook is working on “technology that allows users to type straight from their thoughts without having to lift a finger to work the keyboard,” the Lincolnian further reported, noting that the head of a secretive Facebook research group said that “the brain-computer interface had the capacity to revolutionize how human beings use and interact with technology.”
Land added, “It may seem out of place that a seminary addresses areas of science and technology, but all good things come from God, and that includes the God-given ability to make such technological discoveries and innovations. However, all technological advances change our lives. We must always ask the important questions: How will this change our lives? What are the trade-offs? What can we do to mitigate the possible negative impacts on our citizens and our culture?”
Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu) seeks to show its students the intersection of ethics and faith with science and technology, and these lessons come to life in the classroom and at the seminary’s annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics, planned for this October in Charlotte.
SES President and Evangelical leader Dr. Richard Land says the seminary delves into issues just like these through its Ethics of Emerging Technology program, which allows students, engaged Christians and others to consider the implications of integrating emerging technologies into daily life.
For 25 years, SES has been educating Christians about how to best defend their beliefs and recently announced the 24th annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics, where topics like the relationship between technology and ethics will be explored by expert speakers. One of the largest events of its kind, the timely theme for 2017 is “Pursuing a Faith That Thinks.” The conference is set for Oct. 13-14, 2017, at Calvary Church in Charlotte, N.C.
The conference will welcome the nation’s top apologists, who will give the thousands in attendance new presentations on studies, research, history and insight into apologetics and other intellectual, scientific and religious fields. In addition to Land and SES co-founder Norman Geisler, confirmed conference speakers include Richard Howe, Greg Koukl, Jay Richards, Hugh Ross, Frank Turek and J. Warner Wallace, along with many others.
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