society

Holy Stardust

Angela Tilby spent 22 years as a producer with the BBC’s religious affairs department before being ordained. She served as the vicar of St Bene’ts church in Cambridge and is Canon Emeritus of Christchurch Cathedral Oxford. She is a regular contributor to Radio 4’s Thought for the Day and the Daily Service. The title of her talk is taken from her essay published in Living the Mystery, edited by Jeffrey John. In the essay she explored the apparent conflict between…

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Robots of Good Character

Professor Nigel Crook is head of Robotics and Machine Learning at Oxford Brookes University. In this talk he will explore whether we can build robots that have good moral character – and whether or not we should. He will broadly outline some existing approaches to building ‘autonomous moral machines’ and offer his own thoughts on what should be the key components to such machines. The idea of robots being able to make decisions based on a form of moral code…

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The Cost of Care

With an ageing population and an ever increasing list of treatable conditions the NHS has come under huge pressure as more and more is expected of the service. The relatively simple care offered by the NHS in 1948 has been transformed by medical and technological advances all of which have come with a price tag. We welcome this evening Ron Martin, the lead chaplain of Dorchester County Hospital who will, with the aid of a colleague from the hospital senior…

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Fortress Britain

A key driver for Britain leaving the EU is the perception that immigration is out of control as a consequence of EU freedom of movement rights. As the UK carves out a new place for itself on the European and world stage we welcome Ben Ryan, Head of Research at the Theos Think Tank and editor of the book Fortress Britain, to explore with us the ethical bases for immigration and refugee policies. How do we discern between migrants and…

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Killing Machines

Our lecture in 2017 about Artificial Intelligence generated much interest and discussion. Amongst the issues raised was the whole question of remotely controlled or even autonomous weapons. We are delighted to welcome two retired senior officers to help us explore this further. Lt Gen Sir Robert Fry KCB RM is a former commandant of the Royal Marines and served as coalition deputy commanding General in Iraq in 2006 before retiring to head Hewlett Packard’s Enterprise Services, Defence & Security UK. Air…

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Fierce Imaginings – God and the Great War

Canon Rachel Mann is a priest in the diocese of Manchester with a long fascination for the Great war of 1914-1918. As we come to the end of a four reflecting upon that conflict and the effect it had on the world and those who experienced it we welcome Canon Rachel to help us explore the question: What effect did the Great War have on the perception of God and the Church. It has been suggested that the concept of…

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National Truths

We are particularly pleased to welcome Bishop Jana Jeruma-Grindberga, Chaplain of our sister church St Saviour’s, Riga in Latvia, to talk to us about Truth and Nations. During the 20th century the Baltic states found themselves at the mercy of the Soviet Union with their national stories often buried beneath a tide of soviet propaganda. The perversion of truth to serve a national interest is nothing new but the systematic and wholesale corruption of reality that characterised the Soviet Union…

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I think, therefore I am?

Jon Riding, in addition to his role as the coordinator of the Insight Programme here at the Abbey, has for almost 30 years lead a ground breaking research team working in computational linguistics for the Bible Societies. He is also a theologian at Sarum College where he tutors ministry candidates and teaches biblical languages. Much of his work for the Bible Societies is in building computer systems that can learn about language for themselves. In this lecture he explores the approaching…

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