Judaism in a Digital World: Philosophical, Mystical, and Practical Approaches to the Future of Tech in the Jewish Community
In 2014, Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen – executives at Google – wrote several prophesies about the future of tech in their bestselling book The New Digital Age: Transforming Nations, Businesses, and our Lives. Looking back from 2021, we see that most of their prophesies are coming true. The meaning of these truths, however, is mixed. For instance, they predicted that since there would be a proliferation of news sources on social media, there would be a clash over which news sources one can trust. It also predicted political upheavals and interventions that would occur as a result of the proliferation of social media, leaks, footage, etc. Both of these results have troubling aspects, such as the rise of anti-Semitism via social media and violent acts against Jews, the demonization of Israel, and so forth. In this talk, I will explore philosophical and mystical approaches to technology from Martin Heidegger, Emmanuel Levinas, and the Lubavitcher Rebbe and apply them to the current issues we are facing in the Jewish Community and its future vis-à-vis tech. The talk will insist on the advancement of tech and the development of digital literacy in the Jewish Community. It is essential if we are to take part in and benefit from the transformation of the world that is underway right now, a transformation that can be for the good. Despite all of the negativity we see on a daily basis on social media and in the world, there is good it has done and the potential for even greater good is high.