Event Calendar

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

The Artificial & The Divine: Class On Technology, Wellbeing, & Spirituality

April 26, 2015 @ 9:30 am - 10:30 am

|Recurring Event (See all)


The Artificial and The Divine

A 3-Week Study about the Intersection of Emerging Technology, Wellbeing, and Spirituality

Beginning this Sunday, April 26, at Morrow Memorial United Methodist Church (600 Ridgewood Road, Maplewood, NJ 07040)

They say you can’t stop progress–but we can redefine it. In modern society, technology has taken on an almost spiritual role in our lives, usurping time from loved ones and potential opportunities for introspection and spirituality. In a 3-week, interactive series at Morrow Church John C. Havens, TEDx speaker and author of, Hacking H(app)iness – Why Your Personal Data Counts and How Tracking it Can Change the World (Tarcher/Penguin, 2014) and the upcoming book, Genuine – Authentic Happiness in an Age of Artificial Intelligence (Tarcher/Penguin, 2016) will provide a portrait of how emerging technology can be used to increase wellbeing in our lives or potentially distract us from healthy emotional and spiritual growth.

The class will begin on Sunday, April 26, meeting for 3 consecutive weeks on April 26, May 3, and May 10, at 9:30am in Fellowship Hall. Classes run 40 minutes, with a 12-15 minute intro each week followed by interactive exercises, and/or Q&A each week. The goal of the series is to provide a background on issues such as personal data, quantified self, wearable sensors, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, transhumanism, and positive psychology in a supportive and edifying atmosphere of thoughtful, questioning, and introspective seekers. Please note John and the class are non anti-technology – John is a contributing writer about emerging technology for Mashable, The Guardian, and Slate and has been a journalist about social and emerging technology since 2005, where he’s written for or been featured in Fast Company, USA Today, Forbes, C-SPAN, Fox Business News, and NPR. John was also an EVP at a Top Ten PR firm and is not anti-business, but seeks to empower companies to better create value for their audiences via transparent usage of technology and peer-to-peer systems for personal data exchange. To learn more about John and his work, please check out his website at: www.johnchavens or @johnchavens on twitter.

Week One – I Sync, Therefore I Am

Discussions around personal data tend to focus on privacy and surveillance regarding the government ever since Edward Snowden made his revelations about the NSA. But tracking for marketing purposes has moved beyond the realm of online cookies to GPS in our smartphones and sensors in the devices comprising the Internet of Things. Week One of The Artificial and The Divine will explore why our personal data is so precious as it relates to our identity, how to protect it, and how a new way of sharing our data can benefit marketers and individuals while increasing our wellbeing.

Week Two – The Delight in the Data

The science of Positive Psychology is based on the empirical study of actions like gratitude and altruism and how they have been proven in multiple global studies to increase people’s wellbeing. Quantified Self or wearable devices can measure the passive data in our lives like our heartbeat or stress levels that can provide insights into where we’re finding the greatest purpose and wellbeing in our lives. Week Two of The Artificial and The Divine will provide a background into Positive Psychology as well as an introduction to devices measuring and quantifying happiness that can be utilized to increase wellbeing for ourselves and the loved ones in our lives.

Week Three – Autonomy and Authenticity

The nature of Artificial Intelligence is to replicate, or copy, human intelligence via machines. AI is already being utilized in amazing and transformative ways in business and health arenas to improve people’s lives. However, the accelerated quest for innovation and automation is leading to cultural and legal changes society is not yet equipped to face, including areas like self-driving cars, augmented humans, and sentient machines. While it’s easy to focus on the threat of Terminator Robots taking our lives, Week Three of The Artificial and The Divine will focus more on how technology can easily supplant our focus on introspection or spirituality with the artificial assumption that we can automate human wellbeing.

For more information, contact Morrow Church at (973) 763-7676 or You can also find us online at


April 26, 2015
9:30 am - 10:30 am


Morrow Church
View Organizer Website


Morrow Memorial United Methodist Church
600 Ridgewood Road
Maplewood, NJ 07040 United States
+ Google Map
View Venue Website