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‘A Curious Machine’: Wesleyan Reflections on the Post-Human Future

Friday, 13 SeptemberSunday, 15 September

The Australasian Centre for Wesleyan Research will hold its 10th Scholarly Conference on the campus of Eva Burrows College 13-15 September 2019.

The rate of technological change appears to be opening toward a future in which the centrality and uniqueness of human beings as rational creatures may undergo a shift. What are the biblical, theological, ethical, philosophical, and practical implications of the development of sentience within artificial intelligence? In his sermon ‘What is Man?’ John Wesley spoke of the human being as a ‘curious machine,’ reflecting the eighteenth-century view of the person as a set of complex mechanisms animated by the soul. What ‘curious machines’ may lie ahead of us, not made in the image of God but in the image of a flawed creator? Human enhancement, genetic modification, remotely controlled weapons, the replacement of human labour and skill by robots, the commodification of data, and the development of independent reasoning powers in artificial intelligence all carry both promise and risk. Such themes have been well explored in popular culture and ethicists are beginning to take such questions seriously.

What insights does a Wesleyan theological anthropology bring? How unique is human reason and intelligence? Could a robot ever possess a ‘soul’? Will the future be post-human and what theological approaches will help us prepare for that possibility? Should the rate of technological change be slowed so that we can reset our moral and ethical compass? Or is technological change and development simply a movement toward humanity’s fulfilment in God? Thirty-minute papers are invited on this theme from across the entire range of theological disciplines including cultural studies.


The conference will commence on Friday, 13 September at 7.00pm. For more information about the conference, please email: ijemila@hotmail.com

Conference Registration includes morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea on Saturday and morning tea on Sunday.
Accommodation is not included and has to be booked separately. There are limited rooms available on site at Eva Burrows College. Please contact Eva Burrows College directly for accommodation: vanessa.kool@salvationarmy.org.au03 9847 5402.

Registration rates
Full conference rate: $190
Members: $152 (20% discount on full rate)
Students concessional rates (concessional rates apply only for students): $170
Student + member: $136 (20% discount on student concessional rate)
Day delegate Saturday rate: $120
Day delegate Friday or Sunday rate: $50
(All prices are in Australian dollars)

View the program



Friday, 13 September
Sunday, 15 September
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Eva Burrows College
(03) 9847 5432


Eva Burrows College | Melbourne Campus
100 Maidstone Street
Ringwood, VIC 3134 Australia
+ Google Map
(03) 9847 5400

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