Professor Chaim Sukenik

The Interface of Halacha and Technology: Findings from The Torah and Technology Research Center
(co-author HaRav Yosef Zvi Rimon)

The rapid pace of technological development and ongoing innovation continues to impact our lives in ways we could not have imagined a few decades ago. Advances such as smart homes, autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence are now becoming accessible to the greater public and are bringing to the forefront issues at the interface of Halacha and Technology that have not previously been addressed. In the near future, it is likely that people will routinely have programmed robots operating different aspects of their homes and we may find ourselves wondering if it is permissible to ride in an autonomous vehicle on Shabbat. We will have to ponder the pragmatic questions raised by the implementation of new technologies along with the accompanying moral and ethical challenges. The pressing demand for Halachic expertise and guidance in these matters is becoming impossible to ignore. The Torah and Technology Research Center is being developed at the Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) to provide a centralized, scholarly body equipped to deal with the Halachic implications of today’s technologies. This talk will highlight some of the underlying issues that are presenting themselves and survey some of the Halachic approaches and definitions that are emerging at JCT and elsewhere to questions ranging from sensors to artificial intelligence to new biological and medical technologies.