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Bannan Institutes: Noreen Herzfeld | Outsourcing Memory: Google, Memory, and Forgiveness

4:00 PM to 5:15 PM


“I’ll Google that” is an increasingly common phrase.  Why memorize anything when it is available at the touch of a screen?  Yet memory lies at the foundation of our very selves, and our religions.  Human memory is a process, machine memory, a place--one that does not fully allow for forgiveness and change, one that removes the performative aspect that has shaped us as persons.  As we outsource memory more and more to computers  we alter, not just how we remember, but also what we remember, and our relationship to the past and to one another. 

Noreen Herzfeld is the Nicholas and Bernice Reuter Professor of Science and Religion at St. John's University and the College of St. Benedict.  Noreen combines a background in both computer science and religious studies to investigate the ethical and religious issues raised by modern technology.  She teaches courses in both the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Theology on Computer Theory, Computer Ethics, Science and Religion, Islam, and Religion and Conflict.  Her books include In Our Image:  Artificial Intelligence and the Human Spirit, Technology and Religion, and The Limits of Perfection.  She received a B.A. from St. Olaf College in Mathematics and Music, an M.A. in Mathematics and an M.S. in Computer Science from Penn State, an M.A. in Theology from St. John's University, and a Ph.D. in Theology from the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley.

Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education
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