Shaping a Digital World Banner Image Book cover
► Home

Below are some additional questions for use with the text Shaping a Digial World. Several other discussion questions are included on pages 125-128 of the book.

Chapter 1: (Introduction)
  1. What digital devices have you found most helpful in your life? Which ones do you wish were not part of your life?
  2. Describe the different approaches to computer technology listed in the book. Can you think of examples which demonstrate each of these approaches?
  3. What is the technological imperative? Can you give some additional examples?
  4. Compare and contrast technological determinism with technological instrumentalism.
  5. You may have heard the phrase "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." Discuss whether this slogan is an example of technological instrumentalism.
  6. Watch this video and discuss some ways in which smartphones are "not neutral."
  7. Does the Internet effect our brains? Have you observed ways that the Internet impacts how you read and think?
  8. Take a look at this article about the science of paper vs. screens and discuss how technology effects the way we read.
  9. Can the interfaces to our digital devices effect our worldview? Read this article and discuss if you think digital interfaces subtly and unconsciously train us to see the world in a particular way.
  10. Watch this film called The Amish. Describe how technology for the Amish is not neutral. How does their approach to technology differ from your own? (refer to pp. 24-27)
  11. Listen to this interview relating to "big data" and the book Weapons of Math Destruction. How are algorithms not neutral?
Chapter 2: (Computer Technology and the Unfolding of Creation)
  1. This chapter states that God has at least two means of revealing himself -what are they?
  2. What do you delight in most when it comes to computers?
  3. Describe how each of the modal aspects can apply when a human uses a personal computer.
  4. Read and discuss this article about women and computing. What can be done to attract more women into computing fields?
  5. Some have explored an "analogical" relationship between God and computer science: ie. comapring God and humans as creators, or by identifying the attributes of logic with the attributes of God. What do you think about this approach? What are some issues to be aware of when comparing the Creator with the creation?
  6. Read this article about AI: Is AI a Threat to Christianity? What do you think about some of the questions that are raised? Do you think AI is really a threat to Christianity? Refer to pp. 48-52 in the book as you discuss these ideas.
Chapter 3: (Computer Technology and the Fall)
  1. In one sentence, define technicism. Give examples of how it relates to computer technology.
  2. In one sentence, define informationism. Give examples of how it relates to computer technology.
  3. What does common grace have to do with computing?
  4. Are there any technologies that have no conneciton to creation, only to the fall? Are there any technologies that can only be used for sinful purposes?
  5. Are there technologies that perpetuate the myth that we can live apart from God?
  6. Read Engineers, Ethics, and the VW Scandal. Which norms were violated by this design decision and what were the consequences? How would you respond if you were a software engineer asked to make this change to the software?
Chapter 4: (Redemption and Responsible Computer Technology)
  1. Name some computer issues related to the Juridical norm.
  2. How can technology be used to show love and care for our neighbor?
  3. Are there some technologies that cannot be redeemed?
  4. Can ethical behavior be distilled into a step-by-step set of rules or algorithm? Are Isaac Asimov's "three laws of robotics" a valid framework for robot ethics?
  5. Read this IEEE article about autonomous robot warriors. What is a thoughtful Christian repsonse to the use of autonomous lethal robots in war?
  6. Read this article about elder care and robots. What norms and ethical issues are related to robots caregivers?
  7. What are some of the ethical issues associated with the terms and conditions of software?
  8. Watch this talk by Sherry Turkle and discuss how our devices are changing human connection and communication.
  9. Wikipedia's rules for inclusion require "verifiability, not truth". Discuss this value and any implications it may have.
  10. What is a Christian view of Hacktivism?
  11. How does technology effect worship? Read this open letter to praise bands and discuss how microphones and amplifiers can effect congregational singing.
  12. Read this article about technology and the church and discuss the notion of a "virtual church."
  13. What is a Christian perspective of violence in first-person video games?
Chapter 5: (Computer Technology and the Future)
  1. Do you think there will be computers in heaven? Will there be further technological developments in heaven?
  2. Do you think technology has made life better than in the past? Can you think of things that we have gained as well as things we may have lost?
  3. Do you have hope about the future? Why?
Chapter 6: (Concluding Thoughts)
  1. How is computing a "matter of the heart"?
  2. Read this article about how some Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are taking a leap of faith to create technology that makes you more human. Discuss ways that computer scientists can be a "faithful presence" while working in the software industry.
  3. Read this letter to young engineer. Imagine you have an opportunity to meet over coffee with this engineer. What else might you say?