Two of the biggest design problems in Artificial Intelligence are how to build robots that behave in line with human values and how to stop them ever going rogue. One under-explored solution to these alignment and control problems might be to examine how these are already addressed in the design of humans.
Looking closely at the human blueprint, it contains a suite of capacities that are so clumsy they have generally been kept away from AI. It was assumed that robots with features like emotions and intuition, that made mistakes and looked for meaning and purpose, would not work as well as robots without this kind of code. But on considering why all these irrational properties are there, it seems that they emerge from the source code of soul. Because it is actually this ‘junk’ code that makes us human and promotes the kind of reciprocal altruism that keeps humanity alive and thriving.
Robot Souls looks at developments in AI and reviews the emergence of ideas of consciousness and the soul. It places our ‘junk code’ in this context and argues that it is time to foreground that code, and to use it to look again at how we are programming AI.
Christians are deeply concerned about consumerism, but lack the tools to be able to engage robustly in the debate about its future. Economists obfuscate, politicians polarise, and church leaders bluff. While desire to consume is a fundamentally human trait, consumerism offers only illusory satisfaction. Yet Christianity happens to be unusually well-equipped to lead the fight against Mammon’s most alluring secular narratives. Consumerism is human action, so it can as easily be redemptive as it can be parasitical. We just need to consume for God instead.
Drawing on the Church’s rich traditions of Social Liturgy, ‘Buying God’ calls on the Christian community to renew its confidence and strength in proclaiming this good news. Uniting theoretical work on theology, capitalism and consumerism with a scheme of detailed practical action, the book explores how we can wean ourselves off the material and on to the eternal, through prayer, example, and vibrant social action.
‘Leadership’ is in danger of becoming a tired phrase in the world of management – it may sound cerebral and important, but more often comes across as static and trite. Which might explain why so many ‘leaders’ feel like imposters; they may have a vision or masterplan, but the reality is daily messiness, acute uncertainty and fragile loyalty from team members. Often, they have been parachuted in to transform a complex situation, or promoted in unexpected circumstances. Are there more effective ways in which people can learn the art of being a great leader?
Being an effective leader IS about the daily grind, and it is a far from glamorous existence, but it can be hugely rewarding if leaders are realistic about the choices they face. In many trades and professions, mastery of the subject can take a lifetime; leadership is no different. An apprenticeship approach can breathe life into the development of leaders, day in, day out.
Using insights gained by Ashridge Business School about how leaders really learn, Leadersmithing guides readers through the process of becoming more precisely job-ready and more effectively resourced for the challenges they face. The result is a more confident leader, more perceptive as to their vocation and mandate, and able to maintain the most effective position at the very top of their game.
In Science, no-one believes the earth is flat any more. Economists, on the other hand, haven’t budged from their original worldview. Market Capitalism depends on seven big ideas: competition, the ‘invisible hand’, utility, agency theory, pricing, shareholder value, and limited liability. These served the world well in the past, but over the years they have become cancerous, and are slowly killing the system as a whole. Eve Poole argues that if you zoom in on any of these firm foundations, they start to blur and wobble. Here she offers alternative views for a healthier system. And looking at them together, it becomes clear why we’re so stuck. The capitalist system masquerades as a machine programmed by experts, with only Economists and Governments qualified to tinker with it. But the market is just a mass of messages about supply and demand. The rich world shapes the market in its image, because it has more ‘votes’. So if we want to change the way things are, we don’t need to wait for the experts, we can start now. In each chapter, Poole shows how quiet action by consumers, investors, employees and employers can make big changes, by shifting behaviours and adjusting the way financial ‘votes’ are cast in the market.
Following the success of ‘God and Money’ in this valuable new Temple Tract, Eve Poole sets out a theological argument for embracing consumerism as a God-given unquenchable desire. Poole lays out practical suggestions for how readers might consume more ethically. Going beyond simple spending decisions, the book guides the reader through a new model for auditing personal consuming, looking at the five key areas of money, time, relationships, environment and you.
‘Ethical Consumerism’ is written in Poole’s familiar engaging style mixing humour and insight, while tackling the serious job of developing a more theologically sound consumerism; a consumerism that is centred on a greed for God.
In contemporary times, money means so much more than the intrinsic value of a coin or token. With technology making ‘money’ an electronic process, money is the information flows that reckon balances all around the world. And because of the relative wealth of the world’s rich, money is also about power and politics. Indeed, because so many people seem to worship it these days, it now seems to function rather like a religion. But where is the Christian God in all of this? The Church’s answer over the years has been to focus on usury, just price and debt. But what is missing from these conversations, and what more can people of faith do to address money, inequality and power? In ‘God and Money’ Eve Poole explores accounts from economists and academics, alongside Biblical interpretation, to deepen the Christian understanding of money and wealth.
Since the onset of the global economic crisis, everyone has a view on how to fix capitalism – everyone, it seems, except the Church of England. Given the widespread diagnosis of moral malaise in the marketplace, one might have expected the established religion of the UK to provide more leadership. In spite of its quietness in recent public debate, the Church in fact has a lot to say on the matter. Eve Poole examines the formal views and actions of the Church of England in the run up to the financial crisis, as well as the arguments of leading Church of England bishops, academics and business people. She highlights the richness and distinctiveness of the arguments emanating from the Church with regard to capitalism and the market, but also points to some flaws, gaps and significant silences. Poole urges the Church to stand up and be counted in taking its proper place in re-shaping the global economy. She also offers theologians a new framework for engaging in public theology.
Presents analysis, examples, and ideas about the future in a lively yet academically robust format. The book presents the ethical leadership dilemmas of day-to-day international business life in all their complexity, providing a range of angles, options and ideas to feed a questioning mind.