On 28th March 2019 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered questions from MPs on digital connectivity, the 25th anniversary of the ordination of women, and Easter church attendance.
The right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked—
Church Land and Buildings: Digital Connectivity
Mrs Sheryll Murray (South East Cornwall) (Con): To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what progress has been made on implementing the joint accord between the Government and the Church of England on the use of Church land and buildings to support digital connectivity. 
Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions: digital connectivity, ordination of women, Easter”
On Monday 3rd December 2018 Baroness Benjamin asked Her Majesty’s Government “what financial and other resources will be available to the UK Council for Internet Safety.” The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, may I extend this question a little further? This is such an important issue and our generation will be judged on it as the internet and digital age takes over. Noble Lords will know those clever algorithms that are so good at selling us things—if we buy one thing they will try to sell us something else. Those could be turned towards the interests of internet safety by advancing something called safety by design. What consideration are the Government giving to much more forward-thinking legislation not just to support bodies such as the Council for Internet Safety, but to introduce measures to make our inhabiting of the digital world safer and more creative? Continue reading “Bishop of Chelmsford asks Government about internet safety”
On 19th November 2018, Lord Clement-Jones tabled a Motion ‘That this House takes note of the Report from the Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence AI in the UK: ready, willing and able? (HL Paper 100).’ The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Steven Croft, served on the committee that produced the report and he spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, it was a pleasure to serve as part of your Lordships’ Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence, and an education. I join others in paying tribute to the expertise and skill of our chair, the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, and our excellent staff and advisers.
At the beginning of my engagement with AI, what kept me awake at night was the prospect of what AI might mean for the distant future: the advent of conscious machines, killer robots and artificial general intelligence. We are probably more than a generation away from those risks. But what kept me awake as the inquiry got under way—it really did—were the possibilities and risks of AI in the present.
Continue reading “Bishop of Oxford calls for vigorous public debate on impact of artificial intelligence”
On 16th April 2018 the House of Lords’ Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence published its report (which can be read here). The Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd Steve Croft, was a member of the Committee and published the following blog on his website about the report:
THE ONLY WAY IS ETHICS
Developing Artificial Intelligence in the UK
For the past year, I’ve been a member of the House of Lords’ Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence. The Committee of 13 members received 223 pieces of written evidence and took oral sessions from 57 witnesses over 22 sessions between October and December. It has been a fascinating process. Continue reading “Bishop of Oxford on Developing Artificial Intelligence in the UK”
On 1st March 2018 Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb led a debate in the House of Lords on her question to Her Majesty’s Government ‘what proposals they have for the use of facial recognition technology in security and policing.’ The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I too thank the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Moulsecoomb, for this debate. My guess is that most of us see some very useful ways in which this technology can be used, but many people are also concerned that it may have other uses as well, which they are less keen on. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks for wider debate on use of facial recognition technology”
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”
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”