Event 31 March 2023

ChatGod: Data Science as the New Religion?

28 April 2023 - 28 April 2023

Three workshops focusing on challenges and opportunities of Data Science in Theology and Religious Studies.


With the introduction of ChatGPT the tension between ethics and data was again thrown into sharp relief. This morning program will address this tension from the perspective of theology and Religious Studies: what are the consequences of AI tools such as ChatGPT for pastoral care, or for empirical theology? When scraping data from social media, how can we avoid biases and prejudices which the algorithms often automatically learn from the human input that lies at its basis? But also: how can we optimize the use of AI tools for our research? These and other questions will be addressed in the three workshops on offer. Participants can attend the workshop of their choice. The workshops are structured in such a way that the output produced at the end will be used as the basis for a short position paper on the relationship between AI, ethics, religious studies.


Program File

11:00 – 11:20: Introduction (COVE 02.10)

  1. Introduction to Digital Religion & Digital Theology: Theoretical and Methodological Challenges to the Field of Theology and RS (Prof. Dr. Dries Bosschaert & Lieneke Timpers, MA)

11:20 – 12:40: Workshops in 3 breakout rooms

  1. Chatbots. Lead by Dr. Wouter Biesbrouck, this workshop focuses on the ethical challenges and opportunities faced with the public use and availability of automated chatbots. We will discuss issues of data copyright, privacy issues (human input), and more. Location: MTC1 00.08.
  2. Transkribus. Lead by Dr. Nina Lamal, this workshop will introduce participants in the use of this online tool for transcribing handwritten sources. The difficulty of multiple languages & multiple scripts will the discussed, as well as the role of metadata, the value of collaboration, and platform creation. Location: MTC1 00.12.
  3. iCandid: Led by dr. Ernst van den Hemel and Michiel de Clerck, this workshop will introduce you to the basics of scraping and analyzing data from the internet. The workshop will include a discussion on the biases inherent to tools used for online empirical research. Location: MTC1 02.15.

12:40 – 13:00: Reflection and bringing together of results (COVE 02.10)

13:00 – 13:30: Discuss output for position paper (COVE 02.10). For those interested in participating in this paper: discussion on a position paper on AI, Religion, & Ethics.

General information

Date: Friday 28 April, 2023
Time: 11:00-13:00 h CEST
Location: Romero room (COVE 02.10), Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies
Open to: BA and (Re)MA Students; PhD candidates/researchers.
Language: English


Register here.