Cozy Up with A Good Book

Written by Lincoln Vander Veen

February 7, 2024

Graphic featuring four books for Good Reads

Expand your reading list with the latest diverse works by faculty authors. 

In this installment of Good Reads, we present four books by Seattle University faculty worth checking out, covering topics from ethics and artificial intelligence and war and its aftermath to how to keep the classroom fresh.

Encountering AI: Ethical and Anthropological Investigations by Nathan Colaner, MBA, PhD, and other authors

After years of work the AI Research Group for the Vatican Center for Digital Culture, of which the Director of the Business Analytics program and Associate Teaching Professor in the Albers School of Business and Economics Nathan Colaner, MBA, PhD, is a member, has written a book that explores questions ranging from autonomous weapons to labor to human-AI relationships.

What does it mean to consider the world of artificial intelligence through a Christian lens? Rapid developments in AI are raising important ethical and theological questions regarding humans. Current applications in social media, text and image generation, the military and health care are reshaping important social domains. Many of these applications are bringing great gains to our productivity and efficiency, but clear dangers have also emerged from issues such as bias, automation and disinformation. Commentators speculate about the potential of future AI programs for human level intelligence and whether such machines could themselves become persons. 

“It is not difficult to see that since artificial intelligence is a technology affecting every part of society, ethics guiding it must come from everywhere, too,” explains Colaner. “This book does not simply dive into necessary ethical guardrails for AI. Rather, the book focuses on Christian conceptions of the human person and how they might be affected by AI. Some of these insights will not be obvious or uncontroversial to a secular world view.” 

Encountering AI provides both a practical response to the concrete problems that AI currently presents to society as well as a theologically and philosophically grounded answer to predictions of future AI. Both are rooted in Pope Francis’ rich picture of a society built on enabling interpersonal encounters and relationships that reflect our fundamental call to an encounter with the divine. 

Says Colaner, “I was delighted to be able to participate in writing this book because we felt that this aspect of the conversation has been underappreciated thus far.”

Download the book for free. 

The International Governance of Artificial Intelligence by Mark Chinen, JD

Artificial intelligence applications will soon impact almost every aspect of human life and many of those impacts will be international in scope. Professor of Law Mark Chinen’s book, The International Governance of Artificial Intelligence examines a nascent “law” of AI at the transnational and international levels that seeks to govern this technology.  

That nascent “law” of AI is emerging at the international level from the interactions between stakeholders such as nation states, large technology companies, nongovernmental agencies and international organizations, particularly as they use various tools to regulate, from internal corporate policies and ethics statements to binding statutes and treaties.

“I wrote the book to better understand how the existing forms of regional and international governance are responding to this new technology,” explains Chinen. “Like others, the book concludes by arguing that international human rights should provide the overarching framework for this governance.”

Get a copy of the book. 

Justice After War by David Kwon, PhD

Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies David Kwon, PhD, begins his book with an interpretation of the philosophical and theological issues at stake in the question, “What is justice in the horrific aftermath of war?” and concludes with guidance for exploring the decision of foreign policy and religious mission that confront the contemporary world. Justice After War looks back in history for the best insights of the “just war” tradition as well as contemporaneous efforts at creating peace in the wake of conflict, including diving into the work of scholars and practitioners of peace building and reconciliation. 

Kwon’s book illuminates the extensive theological and philosophical debate about jus post bellum (postwar justice and peace) by carefully and critically examining the main proposals in the literature and it argues for primary attention to human security in the immediate aftermath of war along with political reconciliation.

“Much has been written about determining justifications for going to war and the proper conduct for fighting wars,” explains Kwon. “Much less attention has been paid to the responsibilities of rebuilding and protecting fragile societies devastated by war.”

Get a copy of the book.

Gotta Stay Fresh by James Miles, MFA

Gotta Stay Fresh, a book by Assistant Professor of Performing Arts and Arts Leadership James Miles, MFA, shows that teachers can use hip hop education to help students better take in information and think critically about concepts, inside and outside the classroom. This must-have resource provides teachers with an approach to lesson planning using the structure of a hip hop song and maps it to learning objectives, such as synthesizing new information, social-emotional learning, cultural and linguistically responsive teaching and arts education. 

So why did Miles write the book? Well, there’s a story there. In 2022, after presenting at SXSW EDU a teacher he previously met implored him to put his ideas into a book. He made the mistake of telling her he wasn’t sure he would. Her response? “We need you, James. We need teachers like you. You made me a better teacher!”“

I was stunned by her words,” explains Miles. “It hit me like a ton of bricks—the power of representation and the power of hip hop to change the world. I knew then that I had to finish this book. As soon as I got back to Seattle, I began working again.

“Hip hop is about community. Hip hop is about empowerment. Hip hop celebrates wins and losses,” continues Miles. “When you’re feeling down, it’ll find a way to pick you back up. When you’re feeling good, it lifts you further. Hip hop will always find a way to inspire you and when you least expect it. That’s what I want every young person to experience. That’s what I want teachers to experience.”

Get a copy of the book.