Piaker Memorial Lecture to feature Rabbi Asher Crispe on Sept. 10

The Chabad Center and the Piaker family will hold its annual Pauline and Philip M. Piaker Memorial Lecture on Sunday, September 10. The program will begin at 10 am with a bagel brunch buffet to be followed by a lecture on “The Jewish Origins of A.I. and a Future Vision of Technology in the Service of the Human” by Rabbi Asher Crispe. There is no charge for the brunch or lecture, but reservations must be made at this website or by calling Chabad at 607-797-0015.

Crispe is a technology futurist who consults for a number of companies and organizations, including BECO Management, Lifewrite, Campaign for Vermont, and Merciv Studio. His consulting focuses on advances in A.I., robotics, biotech, agtech, neuroscience, organizational psychology, materials science and complex systems. He also does early-stage venture placements for family offices. Additionally, Crispe lectures widely in Jewish centers and academic institutions around the world on chasidut and kabbalistic philosophy, and their relationship to the arts and sciences. He completed a B.A. in comparative religion and English at the University of Vermont and studied for a Ph.D. in religious philosophy from New York University. He lives with his family in Danby, VT, where they run experiential Jewish retreats and programming.

“The exponential growth of information technologies has produced a heightened sense of promise and peril. What are the limits, if any, to computation, prediction, mapping and modeling? Will A.I. spell the end of work? Numerous academic historians of A.I. have noted texts and practices within the tradition of kabbalah that partially anticipate the trajectory of innovation that has produced the likes of DALL-E and Chat GPT,” said Crispe. “Might these same resources in antiquity inspire further development as well as impart guidance for navigating the pitfalls of technologies which we don’t fully understand?”
“Personally, I am so excited to hear from someone who is both a scholar and immersed in this technology in practicum,” noted Rivkah Slonim. “You can’t read or listen to anything today without bumping into a discussion or, at the very least, a reference to artificial intelligence. But, as a lay person, I want to know, what exactly does the term A.I. include ? And is the accelerated development and usage of this technology, a cause for cheer or wariness?”