Church Times: Artificial intelligence can do immense good — but also harm, warns Steven Croft

The following article appeared in the Church Times on 19th January 2018.

Tough questions for technology
Dr Steven Croft is the Bishop of Oxford and a member of the House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence.

 

 

A SELECT COMMITTEE of the House of Lords has been hearing evidence on every aspect of artificial intelligence (AI) as it affects business, consumers, warfare, health, education, and research (News, 28 July).

The committee is due to report in April, and we are just beginning the process of distilling all that we have heard into the critical issues for public policy. But it is clear to me that the traditional life script of 20 years of education followed by 40 years of work and retirement may no longer be normal. Continue reading “Church Times: Artificial intelligence can do immense good — but also harm, warns Steven Croft”

Education debate: Bishop of Oxford says digital technology learning should be in ethics as well as skills

On 8th December 2017 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, led a debate in the House of Lords, ‘That the House takes note of the role of education in building a flourishing and skilled society.’ The Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd Steven Croft, spoke in the debate and his speech is below. The Archbishop’s opening and closing speeches can be seen here.

The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, like other speakers, I am grateful to the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury for his leadership in this debate and in much else.

I speak this afternoon from three perspectives: as the bishop of a diocese with more than 280 church schools, both primary and secondary, and that number is rising; as a member of your Lordships’ Select Committee on artificial intelligence, which has been a fascinating enterprise; and as a grandfather with three, as yet unsuspecting, grandsons who will enter the education system in the next year or so. The eldest is two and a half and the youngest is just three months. Those grandsons will grow up in a different world. They will probably never drive or own cars; they will interact with screens and machines from an early age, something which is already happening; they will need to know how to set boundaries around their online lives; and their working life and their leisure will be more different from mine than my own is from my grandfather’s. Continue reading “Education debate: Bishop of Oxford says digital technology learning should be in ethics as well as skills”

Bishop of Oxford asks Government about food bank referrals

 On 21st November 2017 the Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd Steven Croft, received a written answer to a question on food banks:

The Lord Bishop of Oxford: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Department for Work and Pensions offers any guidance to Jobcentres on whether, and in what circumstances, it is appropriate to signpost or refer their clients to local food banks. Continue reading “Bishop of Oxford asks Government about food bank referrals”

Bishop of Oxford speaks in debate on strengthening families

On 2nd November 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Farmer, “That this House takes note of A Manifesto to Strengthen Families, published on 6 September.” The Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd Steven Croft, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, I warmly welcome the report and I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Farmer, and others involved. I find myself liking it more each time I read it. Its very modesty is its virtue, for a small number of strategic changes can make an immense difference. I speak from a background of nine years as a vicar in outer estate parishes in Halifax, in very poor communities, and seven years before my previous appointment as Bishop of Sheffield serving again some of the most impoverished regions in the country. Continue reading “Bishop of Oxford speaks in debate on strengthening families”

Bishop of Oxford asks Government about metal theft from churches

On 2nd November 2017 Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the effectiveness and enforcement of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.” The Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd Steven Croft, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, the Minister will be aware of the impact on churches of such theft, particularly from roofs. It has a devastating effect on church communities and knock-on effects for important local amenities. Can she clarify what the Home Office can do to encourage enforcement of the need to register scrap metal dealers with local authorities, as well as not selling on scrap for cash? Continue reading “Bishop of Oxford asks Government about metal theft from churches”

Votes: Financial Guidance and Claims Bill

On the 31st October 2017 the Government’s Financial Guidance and Claims Bill was considered at Report Stage in the House of Lords. Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Sharkey moved an amendment on guidance for individuals before transfer of pension assets to new schemes. Two bishops took part in the vote:

Continue reading “Votes: Financial Guidance and Claims Bill”

Bishop of Oxford says poorest of poor falling behind, asks Government to act

On 30th October 2017 Baroness Lister of Burtersett asked Her Majesty’s Government “what is their assessment of the impact of the benefit rate freeze, in the light of the higher rate of inflation than that anticipated in the original impact assessment.” The Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd Steven Croft, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, does the Minister agree that incentivising people back into work and supporting the poorest in our society, including children, are not mutually exclusive? Will she comment on the ways of doing the second alongside the first? Will she also set out the Government’s plans to remedy the current situation, in which the poorest of the poor are falling further behind? Continue reading “Bishop of Oxford says poorest of poor falling behind, asks Government to act”