What does it mean to exist in complex relationships with machines? What insights can be offered to our understandings of these relationships by the theologically significant theme of ‘love’? What critical assessments can be made of our multiple uses of technologies in shaping our futures, by reflecting on our pasts?

Events and Outputs
> Robots vs Loneliness?
> Focus Groups
> Conference: Care and Machines
Useful links 

Disquiet over the prevalence of social and economic individualism has a long history. In a world of mobile Capital and increasingly mobile people, communities of common tradition and locality appear to be under threat from the advent of a fragmented market society. Are these complaints against individualism justified? And crucially, how should Christians respond to them? Digging down into the substance of these questions, this project will consider the theological, liturgical and scriptural resources Christians have for understanding the notion of individualism in relation to issues of education, public life and the formation of democratic citizenship.

Upcoming events/outputs

[To be updated]


Past events/outputs


15/9/16-17/9/16 - 'Relation, Vulnerability, Love' - KU University, Leuven

Presentation of paper entitled 'Self-Help for Cyborgs: What are the Merits and Challenges of Hybridity as a Model for 21st-Century Theological Anthropology?' The paper explored what it means to say that we are hybrid beings as a result of deep technological and ontological fusions, and how this might help us to rethink our other taxonomical categorisations.


27/10/16 - 'Are you a cyborg?' - Manchester Cathedral

Interactive session to coincide with Manchester Science Festival 2016, and Manchester as European City of Science 2016. Discussion of sci-fi cyborgs and how we might reflect on them, including a personality-style quiz to facilitate interrogation of how technologies are used and perceived in our own everyday lives. Reference to the significance of theology in these discussions, as part of research that developed from doctoral study.


16/11/16-18/11/16 - 'Technology and Knowledge, Mediation, and Transcendence' - University of Twente

Presentation of paper exploring hybridity and what it means to think about ourselves and the concept of 'humanness' in terms of an inseparability from technologies.


23/7/17-29/7/17 - 'International Congress of History of Science and Technology' - Rio de Janeiro

Presentation of paper exploring how love was figured, particularly as liberation, in the context of thinking machines and the multiverse in an exhibition at HOME, Manchester by Al and Al about Alan Turing's real and imagined legacy. The paper was titled 'Incidents of God(s) in the Multiverse: Religion, Science, and Posthuman(ist) Love in Al and Al's Multimedia Exhibitions'.


29/8/17-1/9/17 - '12th Annual International Ethnography Symposium' - University of Manchester

Presentation of paper, 'Self-Help for Cyborgs' as part of a symposium on cyborg theories and practices. The paper highlights the significance of theological reflection for the notion of cyborgs, and sketches out a way to explore selfhood in a context of advanced technologies, which is related to flux, hybridity, and hyperacceleration. 


28/9/17 - PechaKucha Manchester Vol. 19 - Plant Noma

Delivery of a 'PechaKucha' talk, using 20 images and with 20 seconds per image, based on my research on robots and love. A recoding of the talk can be found here. Image credit: Daniel T. C. T. (@mrdtct)


20/10/17-21/10/17 - 'Care and Machines: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Caring Relationships with Technologies' - University of Manchester

The first conference to be hosted by the Living with and Loving Machines LTI project, this event will bring together academics and industries working with technologies to explore how issues of 'care' are involved with our designs and uses of various machines. More details are available on the conference website.


29/10/17 - A Grand Exposition (Cornbrook Creative) - Manchester Science Festival

Participation in a panel discussing the future of technology in terms of power (including politics and labour) as part of Manchester Science Festival 2017. The event was held at Talbot Mill as part of A Grand Exposition, which brought together artists, musicians, poets, writers, and academics with the public to explore science and technology and our relationship with them in an interactive and innovative way. More details are available at the event website.


23-24/2/18 - 'Loving Machines: A Theological Colloquium on Love in Technocultural Lifeworlds' - University of Manchester

This event brought together leading theologians exploring theology and technology, and invited participants to reflect on and discuss how love may inform our critical understandings of relationships with machines. For example, in clinical settings, machines are made to participate in caring relationships but they may also be disruptive of them if contact between doctors and patients, or patients and their families, for example, are interrupted. Elsewhere, machines now also promise companionship, but in what sense can we understand such companionship as authentic or characterisable by love? A more detailed overview of topics and speakers can be downloaded here. An edited collection of essays from the event is planned for 2019. 


5-6/4/2018 - 'AI & Apocalypse' - CENSAMM, Panacea House

Invitation to present at an interdisciplinary conference hosted by CENSAMM at the Panacea House in Bedford. Conference explored notions of apocalypticism surrounding developments and narrations of AI. Paper presented, 'Love and Liberation from Creation to the Singularity', explored the ideas of Teilhard de Chardin in the context of sinularitarian thought, and highlighted different accounts and models of love in both as a way of comparing and critiquing them, and enhancing our insights into apocalyptic and technological anticipation. A recording of the paper can be viewed here, as well as of the roundtable discussion here.


9/8/2018 - 'Why Silicon Valley Needs Theologians' - The Conversation

Publication of short public-facing article that highlights the significance of theological reflection for approaches to technoethics. Although there are presently strong calls for ethicists of technology, theological contribution is undervalued and underrepresented, and this article briefly sketches out some of the reasons why religion is important for the study of technology. The article can be viewed here.


10/10/2018 - NWCDTP annual postgraduate conference - University of Salford

Delivered one of the conference keynote presentations, titled 'Philosophical Foundations of Lovotics'. The conference sought to highlight connections between humanities and technologies, and the presentation was based on research into how philosophical ideas underpin attitudes to and relationships with social robots, specifically those that are designed to captivate our affections and stir up sentiments of 'love'. 


15/10/2018 - Science and Religion evening, St Chad's Church, Withington

Presentation of talk, 'AI and the Common Good?', to members of the congregation as part of the semi-regular Science and Religion evenings run by the church. Pepper the robot and members of the Cognitive Robotics group at the University of Manchester, led by Prof Angelo Cangelosi, were also there to respond to audience questions. The same talk was also delivered to the congregation at Sacred Trinity Church, Salford, on the 9/9/2018.


4/11/2018 - 'Robots vs Loneliness?' - Manchester Cathedral

Public engagement event organised and funded as part of the annual ESRC Festival of Social Science. A panel of experts discussed different applications of robots in relation to the growing concerns about loneliness, and responded to the audience's questions about the risks that these different applications present. More details of the event, including a video recording of it, can be found here.


26/11/2018 - 'Beyond Belief' - BBC Radio 4

Participation in a discussion about AI and religion. A recording of the programme can be accessed here.


4/12/2018 - Religions & Theology Deparment Seminar, University of Manchester 

Presentation of co-authored interdisciplinary paper, 'Creating Desire: Gender, Mythology, Posthumanism', with Dr Kate Cook (Classics, Leeds) and Dr Holly Morse (Bible, Gender & Culture, Manchester). The paper explored thematic resonances and parallels between narratives of creation of the first women and those of the creation of sexbots, in turn encouraging critical reflection on the role of mythology in approaches to technologies. 


25/1/2019 - 'Exploring Theology' - St Nicholas' Church, Burnage

Invited as guest speaker at the 'Exploring Theology' group, which discusses and theologically reflects on a stimulus material or topic. Lovotics and different loving styles with social robots that are designed to capture our affections was the topic that I presented.