What are the consequences of the Church of England’s historic slave plantations in Barbados today? Theologian Robert Beckford considers why and how the Church’s missionary arm, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, got involved in the slavery business. He travels to Barbados to hear from a range of voices who tell the story of how in 1710, the Church turned the Codrington Plantation into a missionary experiment. The original mission failed but later generations did eventually adopt the Anglican faith. However, spurred by the country becoming a republic, some are now questioning the Church’s historic role in slavery. For some, it has turned them away from Christianity; for others, there is a need to decolonise or Africanise Anglican Christianity in Barbados. They say the religion’s only hope of survival on the island is to make it relevant to the black majority populace. Through the voices of Bajan Anglican worshipers, Robert interrogates what the future of the Church now looks like in terms of practice and governance in Barbados.
Professor Robert Beckford explores the Christian understanding of reparations. He speaks to Christians in Barbados who say reparations from the Church are now both justified and necessary.
But their perspective is only one side of the story. In England, representatives from the Church of England and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel articulate their understanding of reparations and why they believe it is unnecessary. Robert looks into Christian scripture to explore if there could be a theological case for the payment of reparations.
Next year Americans will go to the polls to choose their next president. For many, the race has already begun. Digital electioneering in US elections has been steadily developing over the last 15 years, but this time around, advancements in artificial intelligence could be a game changer.
There have been huge strides in generative AI in the past year. One of the most accessible AI tools now available to the general public is the software known as ChatGPT, which can scour the internet for information, producing text for speeches and essays. Generative AI is widely used to produce social content around image and text, but what will happen when full on AI video becomes more readily available to any user?
AI systems will be able to reach voters with messages targeted specifically to them, but will they be able to trust them? There are concerns that voters will have an increasingly tough task working out which campaign messages are genuine and which are not. To date, there is currently little regulation of a system which has already been used to create deep-fake manipulations of people and what they say, provoking questions over authenticity.
So do we all have to be more aware of how much we allow AI to shape our democracies?
This week on the Inquiry, we’re asking: Will AI decide America’s next president?
Betsy Hoover, Higher Ground Labs
Prof Hany Farid, University of California Berkeley
Martin Kurucz, CEO, Sterling Data Company
Nina Schick, author of ‘Deepfakes’
Presented by Tanya Beckett
Produced by Jill Collins
Researcher: Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty
Editor: Tara McDermott
Technical producer: Richard Hannaford
Broadcast coordinator: Brenda Brown
Image: Unused privacy booths are seen at a voting site in Tripp Commons inside the Memorial Union building on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus in Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin, November 3, 2020 (Credit: Bing Guan/Reuters)
Inside our gut lives an entire ecosystem of bacteria and microbes, called the microbiome. In fact, the human body contains trillions of microorganisms, which outnumber our cells by ten to one. This means that technically we are more microbe than human. But not only do these microbes rely on us to survive, we also rely on them for some vital bodily functions. So what impact do these trillions of microbes have on our health? That’s the question that’s been bothering CrowdScience listener Russell, from Canada.
Presenter Caroline Steel investigates. She visits the only museum in the world dedicated to microbes to ask exactly what they are, what they do and why we have so many of them inside our bodies. And she visits a microbiology lab filled with model guts to find out what impact the microbiome has on our physical health and if there is anything we can do to help our microbes function better.
Caroline finds out what impacts our microbiome, what we can do to improve our inner ecosystem, and how our microbes can take a disturbing turn on us after we die.
Produced by Hannah Fisher and presented by Caroline Steel for the BBC World Service.
Editor: Richard Collings
Production Coordinator: Jonathan Harris
Professor Glenn Gibson – Professor of Microbiology, University of Reading
Jasper Buikx – Microbiologist and Head of ARTIS Micropia
David Good – Doctoral Candidate at the University of Guelph
Image Credit: Microbiota of the human intestine/CHRISTOPH BURGSTEDT/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A long-held human ambition may soon become reality – human settlements on another planet, or in a floating space station. People could fulfil their hopes and dreams among the stars.
David Baker has been discovering what those settlements in space will be like, who will be there and how they will be organised. He has been hearing from the people shaping human life out in the universe, about their extraordinary plans and ambitions.
Presenter: David Baker
Producer: Jonathan Brunert
(Image: Life on Mars illustration. Credit: Getty Images)
Permafrost covers a quarter of the Northern Hemisphere’s land and stores twice as much organic carbon as Earth’s atmosphere currently holds. What happens when it starts to thaw? The Agenda examines the climate threat of thawing permafrost, and why northern roads and communities find themselves on shaky ground.
Welcome to Transition Studies. To prosper for very much longer on the changing Earth humankind will need to move beyond its current fossil-fueled civilization toward one that is sustained on recycled materials and renewable energy. This is not a trivial shift. It will require a major transition in all aspects of our lives.
This weblog explores the transition to a sustainable future on our finite planet. It provides links to current news, key documents from government sources and non-governmental organizations, as well as video documentaries about climate change, environmental ethics and environmental justice concerns.
The links are listed here to be used in whatever manner they may be helpful in public information campaigns, course preparation, teaching, letter-writing, lectures, class presentations, policy discussions, article writing, civic or Congressional hearings and citizen action campaigns, etc. For further information on this blog see: About this weblog. and How to use this weblog.
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