Department of Theology and Religious Studies

PhD student Andrew Proudfoot wins Peacocke essay prize

For the second year running, a PhD student from our Theology and Religous Studies department has won the Science and Religion Forum’s Peacocke Prize.

Andrew Proudfoot's essay titled How to say Thou to a conscious machine was chosen as this year's prize winner. The awarding body wrote about Andrew's essay "It was felt that your essay provided a timely introduction to the theological challenges of AI-human interactions and an excellent starting point for further discussion and debate." 

Andrew told us;

In my paper "How to say Thou to a conscious machine", based on my Masters dissertation, I assume arguendo that conscious Artificial Intelligences will eventually arise and ask what type of relationship it would be appropriate to have with them. Using the relational framework of Martin Buber as a guide, I show that the allowances Buber makes for I-Thou encounter between dissimilar entities enables legitimate I-Thou encounters between humans and conscious machines despite their alterity, and highlights our responsibility to nurture these machines into the I-Thou world. 

I am absolutely delighted to win the Peacocke Prize, in particular for the opportunity to stimulate further discussion as their citation notes.

Amongt other prizes, Andrew will be able to attend the Science and Religion Forum conference with all costs covered. As well as that, they have been given a 45minute session to present the paper at the conference.

We'd like to wish a huge congratulations to Andrew!

Posted on Thursday 27th July 2023

Department of Theology and Religious Studies

University of Nottingham
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