Seeking the Sacred in the Digital Age

Tim Clancy S.J. Gonzaga University, 502 E Boone Ave, Spokane, Wa 99258 

Gonzaga University February 16-17, 2019

(all sessions will be held in the basement Hemmingson Auditorium)   

Saturday, February 16

9:00-10:30 Virtual Technologies and ethical/religious implications 

  • Mel Rayappa SJ (MS in Computer Engineering, Carnegie-Mellon): “Identifying Stakeholders for Ethical Deliberations over Programing for AI Personal Assistants Such as Siri and Alexa” 
  • Chris Birmingham (PhD Student in Robotics at USC) : “Socially Assistive Robotics: Teaching, Care, and Support of Vulnerable Populations” 
  • Aaron Brown (Senior Security Analyst at Amazon): “The Hacker Manifesto as Gnostic Lament” 

10:45-12:15 Online Evangelism 

  • Karol Wilczynski and Karol Kleczka (over Zoom from Poland, they are journalists at the largest Catholic website in Poland run by Jesuits) “Why Digital Evangelization is not Working and How Can We Change it” 
  • Jonathan Armstrong (Moody Bible Institute): Ministry in VR: Prospects and Challenges 


1:30-3:00: Reflections Over the Use of Big Data Algorithms  

  • Brendan Kennedy (PhD student in Computer Science at USC) Humanist perspectives on personal data collection and use. 
  • Nathan Huff (applying for doctoral studies in psychology): The use of big data algorithms in sentencing criminals  
  • Adam Nekimken (doctoral studies in Bio-Engineering at Stanford) “How Big Data Monopolizes Your Attention” 

3:15-4:45Christian appropriation of Virtual Science and Technology 

  • Mark Fusco SJ (asst professor of Theology, Santa Clara U): “What does Quantum Mechanics, Black Hole Entropy and Information Have to do with Transubstantiation?”  
  • Levi Checketts (recent PhD at GTU on Transhumanism and Christian Ethics): “Transhumanism and The Need for a New Christian Ethic” 
  • Tim Clancy (teaches philosophy of religion and philosophy of technology at Gonzaga) “Juxtaposing Teilhard and Transhumanism” 
  • Cameron Healy “Virtual Icons”. 

5:00 Reception and Dinner at Dela Strada 

Sunday, February 17 

9:00-10:30 The Networked Self and Social Media 

  • Patrick Aroikiaraj SJ (over Zoom from Pune, India). A Psychoanalytic Study of Smartphones as Transitional Objects for Young Jesuit Priests in India 
  • Frank Jaynath SJ (over Zoom from Chenai, India) The Liberatory Potential of Social Media for India’s Dalits (Untouchables).  
  • Lawrence Fernandes SJ (Chennai, where he teaches the philosophy of religion and popular religiosity in India) 

10:45-12:15 Promises and Threats to a Flourishing Life of Meaning and Purpose in the High Tech Sector: a panel of computer people working in the industry 

  • Ruth Manthey (over Zoom from Boise) 
  • Corwin Bryan  
  • Peter Henggler 


1:30-3:00 Ministering to Digital Natives 

  • High School: Christian Astran (campus minister at Loyola High, LA) 
  • College: Ally Clapp (campus minister at Gonzaga) 
  • Young adults: Teresa Nygard: (youth minister at Boise State) 
    Everyone (toddlers on up!): Kieren Halloran SJ: adapting the examen to monitor social media usage 

3:30-4:15 where to go from here? 

  • Explore monthly webinar with circulating facilitators presenting on various issues of interest (e.g. Chinese  CRISPR baby brouhaha) 

4:30 Mass in Dela Strada chapel. 

5:30 Reception 

6:30 Dinner