Critical Conversations: Artificial Intelligence, Jewish Ethics, and the Future of Humanity

Critical Conversations is an annual Spertus Institute program that brings together experts and activists to address the most critical issues of the day.

This Year’s Program: Artificial Intelligence, Jewish Ethics, and the Future of Humanity

Artificial intelligence has become interwoven into our lives with alarming speed. This year, our presenters will address its pervasiveness, perils, and potential.

Sunday, March 17, 2024
7-8:30 PM CT
Online. Join us from wherever you are!

Tickets are free. Reservations required.

Register Today

About The Topic

For some, AI is a boon to society, capable of helping humanity advance in remarkable ways. For others, it is a dangerous tool destined to compromise privacy, escalate inequity, and, in its most extreme examples, threaten humankind itself.   

This year’s program brings together experts in the fields of artificial intelligence, ethics, and Jewish thought to help us consider what this rapidly expanding new technology means for our future.   

The program will be moderated by Spertus President & CEO Dr. Dean P. Bell

Critical Conversations is generously funded by the late Eric Joss.

Headhots of Dr. Oren Etzioni (wearing a pink shirt, in front of a white board with math equations), Dr. Ellen P. Goodman (with curly hair and glasses in front of a bookshelf with lots of books), Dr. David Zvi Kalman  (in a plaid shirt with greenery behind him) and Dr. Orly Lobel (in a black dress with greenery behind her).

PRESENTERS (pictured above, left to right)

Dr. Oren Etzioni is an AI researcher and entrepreneur, who is now leading truemedia.org — a nonprofit dedicated to fighting deepfakes in politics. Dr. Etzioni has founded several companies including Farecast, which was acquired by Microsoft. As a Professor at the University of Washington, he has published over 200 technical papers on AI. In 2014, he was the founding CEO of Allen Institute for AI (AI2). He now serves as an AI2 advisor, as well as technical director of the AI2 Incubator. He writes about AI for publications including The New York Times, Wired, and Nature.

Ellen P. Goodman is an expert on information technology law, including AI and digital platform policy. She currently serves as the Florence Rogatz Visiting Professor of Law at Yale Law School, while continuing a stint as Senior Advisor for Algorithmic Justice at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the US Department of Commerce. Professor Goodman co-founded and co-directs the Rutgers Institute for Information Policy & Law and is a Distinguished Professor at Rutgers Law School.

Dr. David Zvi Kalman is a scholar, writer, and entrepreneur working at the intersection of technology, religion, and art. He serves as a research fellow at institutions including Shalom Hartman Institute’s Kogod Research Center, exploring topics as varied as medieval law, the history of technology, Jewish culture, legal theory, and material culture. He has been widely published in both academic and popular publications and writes and speaks regularly about artificial intelligence.

Dr. Orly Lobel is a renowned tech policy scholar. At her home base at the University of San Diego, she is the Warren Distinguished Professor of Law and founding director of the Center for Employment and Labor Policy. An award-winning author, her newest book, The Equality Machine: Harnessing Digital Technology for a Brighter, More Inclusive Future, was named a best book of 2022 by The Economist. Dr. Lobel served on President Obama’s policy team, has advised the Federal Trade Commission on tech policy, and, in 2023, keynoted the United Nations AI for Good Summit in Geneva. She is regularly quoted in the media, and her work has been featured in publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, and Harvard Business Review.


Past Critical Conversations have focused on issues including rising antisemitism, climate change, race, and immigration.

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