Advisory Board

Professor Anne Foerst

Anne Foerst, Th.D. is an Associate Professor for Computer Science at St. Bonaventure University and teaches both the interdisciplinary Core and Honors programs. Previously, she has worked as research scientist at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was also affiliated with the Center for the Studies of Values in Public Life of Harvard Divinity School. While in the artificial intelligence lab at MIT, she served as theological advisor for the Cog and Kismet projects, two attempts to develop embodied, autonomous social robots that resemble human infants in their ability to learn and develop more mature intelligence levels.
Anne initiated and directs “God and Computers”, a dialogue project initially between Harvard Divinity School, the Boston Theological Institute, and MIT, and now continued at St. Bonaventure. In this function, she has organized several public lecture series and public conferences on Artificial Intelligence, computer science, and concepts on personhood and dignity.
She has published papers in academic journals on the possibility for mutual enrichment between Artificial Intelligence, the Cognitive Sciences, and Jewish and Christian theologies and anthropologies. She also writes for popular media to bring the question on religion and science to a broader audience. Her research centers mostly on questions of embodiment and social interaction as central elements in human cognition, on questions of personhood and dignity, and on how to bring theology back into the public discourse in secularized, high-tech Western cultures. She is contributing editor for the quarterly magazine Spirituality & Health and is the author of God In the Machine: What Robots Teach Us About Humanity and God.
Anne earned degrees in computer science and philosophy from the University of Bonn, Germany, a master of divinity degree from the Seminary of the Protestant Church in Rhineland, and her Th.D. in theology from the Ruhr-University at Bochum, Germany.
Read A CONVERSATION WITH: ANNE FOERST; Do Androids Dream? M.I.T. Working on It.