Public lecture 'The Future of faith and responsible technology & AI'

Examples from the Muslim technology market

19 January 2023

Venue: Public Lecture@Boerhaave

With the role of digital technology increasingly becoming more vital and a larger part of everything we do, the question lingers as to how we can ensure that technology serves humans in a manner that is beneficial and responsible to everyone? Part of the complexity of new technologies is that they can often have unintended consequences, bringing questions of ethics to the fore, both in terms of the design of technology and impact.

Yet, every community of technology consumers has different social, cultural, and faith-based values that shape their needs, determine what “responsible” technology means, and how technology is used.

One exceedingly large, young, and fast growing group of users is the global Muslim community. Unfortunately, most discussions on responsible technology and AI have so far left them out of the picture. This series of short lectures will shed light on this under-explored topic of faith-based ethics and technology, and to highlight why bringing diversity and inclusion into the conversation is necessary to ensure that no one is left behind in the digital revolution.


17.15 – 17.35 Dr Stefan Buijsman: Ethics of technology and AI– In this talk, Dr Buijsman walks us through how we actually go about incorporating ethics in the design stage of technology, through drawing on use cases specific to the Muslim community’s needs. 

17.35 – 17.45 Dr. Bart Barendregt: Islam, Ethics and Technology, why discuss them together?  This talk will discuss the need for thinking about technology in relation to Islamic and ethics and will provide a summary and findings of the workshop series.

17.50 – 18.30 Payal Arora, Arfah Farooq, Faten Hijazi Panel: Driving Diversity and Inclusion within the tech industry – Our panelists will discuss the types of infrastructures needed to accommodate diverse users of technology and to create more ethically/socially and culturally sensitive guidelines for the industry. 


Payal Arora is a digital anthropologist and professor and chair in Technology, Values, and Global Media Cultures at Erasmus University. She is the founder and Executive Director of a digital activism organisation, Catalyst Lab. She is author of several books including The Next Billion Users: Digital Life Beyond the West (Harvard University Press, 2019). Much of her research focuses on digital cultures, global inequality and data governance in the Global South. She also sits on several boards and advisory committees including the Facebook Social Science One, Columbia University Earth Institute's Connect to Learn and Technology, Knowledge and Society Association. 

Arfah Farooq is co-founder of UK-based non-profit organization Muslamic Makers, which focuses on networking and promoting diversity and inclusion among under-represented groups in the technology sector. She was a 2017 fellow of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and has been awarded a prestigious fellowship exploring Muslim Women in Technology in USA, UAE and Pakistan. She has been featured as a trailblazing Muslim Women as part of an International Women's Day campaign and was named as a top 30 London Tech Week Changemaker in 2018. She is also an Angel Investor in start-ups as part of the Ada Ventures Angels program to invest in underrepresented talent. 

Faten Hijazi is CEO of SystemThink,inc helping organizations to understand and analyze existing behavior and identify patterns unique to their organization and thus put systems thinking into practice. Prior to this she worked as a business and technology leader in silicon engineering, operations, business development and strategy. She started out as a design engineer at Xilinx and also worked at Google where she managed a team of technical program managers supporting Google's cloud infrastructure. She is passionate about the intersection of technology, human behavior, social justice and the development of power structures to create common good. 


This public lecture is part of the workshop The Future of Muslim Tech: Prospects and Challenges.


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