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Of Minds and Machines: What Artificial Intelligence Tells Us About Ourselves

1200 New York Ave, Washington, DC

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The field of artificial intelligence has fascinated scientists and non-scientists alike for decades. Once primarily explored through science fiction, AI is increasingly a part of our daily life. Join the American Association for the Advancement of Science's program of Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (AAAS | DoSER) for an exciting discussion of forefront research and its societal implications. Reception to follow.


Maithilee Kunda

Maithilee Kunda is assistant professor of computer science and computer engineering at Vanderbilt University. Her work in artificial intelligence, in the area of cognitive systems, looks at how visual thinking contributes to learning and intelligent behavior, with a focus on applications for individuals on the autism spectrum. She currently directs Vanderbilt’s Laboratory for Artificial Intelligence and Visual Analogical Systems, and is a deputy director of the Vanderbilt Center for Autism and Innovation. She holds a B.S. in mathematics with computer science from MIT and a Ph.D. in computer science from Georgia Tech, and in 2016, was recognized as a visionary on the MIT Technology Review’s annual list of 35 Innovators Under 35.



Paul Scherz

Paul Scherz is an Assistant Professor of Moral Theology and Ethics at the Catholic University of America. He teaches courses on medical ethics, the ethics of technology, and general moral theology. His research examines the interrelationship between ethics, religion, science, and medicine, especially as they relate to innovations in genetic biotechnologies. Dr. Scherz’s research interests draw on his dual trainings in theology and molecular biology. He received a Ph.D. in genetics from Harvard University followed by a Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellowship to work on models of congenital heart defects at the University of California, San Francisco. At this point, he decided to pursue his interest in the ethical implications of his work in contemporary biology as they relate to his faith, receiving a Ph.D. in moral theology from the University of Notre Dame. He has published widely in both science and theology in journals such as Science, Cell, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of the Society for Christian Ethics, the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, and the Journal of Religious Ethics. He is currently working on projects addressing genetic risk in our understanding of health and disease, artificial intelligence, and Christian understandings of death.



5:30–7:00 pm


7:00–8:00 pm

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