What can Ignatian discernment teach us about our relationship to technology? That was a question posed by Diocese of San Jose Coadjutor Bishop Oscar Cantú, who recently visited Santa Clara University as part of an 18-month series of talks exploring Tech and the Human Spirit.
Bishop Cantú went on to explore the myriad beneﬁts of technology; how memory works; and how we should stay alert to elements of our humanity that technology ignores or harms.
“Our unconscious mind does not engage the problem until we’ve consciously deﬁ ned the problem,” he said, quoting author Nicholas Carr. “We need larger schemas of values by which to organize information.”
At SCU’s Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education, the new Tech and the Hu-man Spirit program is a response to the fact that technology has changed us, and will continue to shape our lives, our organizations, our communities, and our future. The program will invite speakers to address the question: how can we steward technology’s advance to beneﬁ t humanity to the fullest – supporting human endeavor, and contributing to human ﬂourishing in all its dimensions?
Santa Clara University brings the inclusive perspective of Jesuit education to Silicon Valley to pursue answers.
“One of the major topics discussed at the recent Synod on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment in Rome was young people’s relation-ship with technology, a relationship with both lights and shadows,” said Dorian Llywelyn, S.J., executive director of the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education. “We try to teach our children to do and say what it right and what is wrong. But that task is harder when we ourselves don’t always know where the truth lies. So it’s important for us to discern carefully the daily choices that face people of all ages in this digital age.”
From ubiquitous Internet access and its inﬂuence on human communication and relationships, to artificial intelligence, bioengineering, and quantum computing – poised to transform everything from business to education to healthcare – we are experiencing an unprecedented wave of tech-driven change – a ”Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
Santa Clara seeks to be a rare forum for exploring the most profound and complex questions about technology’s impact on what it means to be human. At Santa Clara University, such topics are the domain of the human spirit – the place in each of us where questions of identity, meaning, purpose, and human interconnection dwell. If we are to steward technology to its highest good, shouldn’t spirit be part of the conversation – and an inspiration for action?
Tech and the Human Spirit is a one-of-a-kind initiative that will en-gage a diverse array of partners in conversation, reflection, and action at the intersection of technology and the human spirit. The inquiry SCU convenes will transcend ethical and technological considerations to explore the full spectrum of human ﬂourishing: Mind, body, and spirit. Together, we will pursue questions at the very heart of our humanness: In the midst of this Fourth Industrial Revolution, what does it mean to be fully human? And who, as technology creators shaped by our own creation, are we becoming?