WeeklyTech #91

Technology (Still) Can’t Replace In-person Community

A Roundtable Discussion with Jay Kim, Julie Masson, and John Dyer

As churches begin to gather in person again all around our nation and restrictions begin to ease, many church leaders are wondering how to navigate the challenges and opportunities that technology has brought us in this season. Last summer, I (Jason) hosted a roundtable with friends about the role of technology in the church and much of what they said still rings true today as we hopefully have the worst of this pandemic behind us.

One of my favorite answers to the question about some of the dangers of technology in the church was given by my friend John Dyer of Dallas Theological Seminary. “I think we need to relentlessly challenge a way of thinking that’s deeply wired into the circuitry of evangelical thinking on technology: “the methods may change, but the message stays the same.” On the surface, this seems right because the gospel seed can grow in the soil of any culture. But this way of thinking also seems to say that form doesn’t matter, that our faith is simply content that can be delivered in any medium, and that beauty, truth, and goodness are separate things. So I’m not that concerned that we use our technology too much, I am concerned that we use it with too little reflection on how its form shapes our message.”

The Rundown

As Outbreak Rages, India Orders Critical Social Media Posts to Be Taken Down Karan Deep Singh and Paul Mozur | The New York Times

With a devastating second wave of Covid-19 sweeping across India and lifesaving supplemental oxygen in short supply, India’s government on Sunday said it ordered Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to take down dozens of social media posts critical of its handling of the pandemic.

How Apple’s AirTags could be extra useful for blind peopleIna Fried | Axios

Apple’s AirTags have the potential to be quite handy for those of us who misplace stuff and a significant new revenue source for Apple. But for those who are blind or have very low vision, the new product trackers could be a game changer.

A meme gold rush? Classic viral images are selling as NFTs for thousands of dollarsKalhan Rosenblatt | NBC News

In the past, monetizing a meme was nearly impossible for its creator. NFTs have changed that, leading to a meme “gold rush,” experts say.

The world regulates Big tech while U.S. dithers – Ashley Gold | Axios

Tech giants are facing increasingly hostile foreign governments that are taxing their profits, attempting to halt their acquisitions, labeling them as monopolies and passing laws to limit their powers.

The Computers Are Getting Better at Writing – Stephen Marche | New Yorker

GPT-3 is a tool. It does not think or feel. It performs instructions in language. The OpenAI people imagine it for “generating news articles, translation, answering questions.” But these are the businessman’s pedantic and vaguely optimistic approaches to the world’s language needs.