Religious Ethicist Kristel Clayville Presents ‘Using Feminine Images of God to Describe AI’ on March 6

February 14, 2024 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications


AI has emerged as a tool for productivity, a threat to jobs, even a stand-in for God. Much of the language that is used to talk about AI draws on apocalyptic and prophetic discourse, as well as on images of God that are rooted in ideas of God’s omniscience, says Rev. Dr. Kristel Clayville, a lecturer in ethics in the computer science department at University of Illinois Chicago.

On Wednesday, March 6, Clayville will present “Dea Ex Machina: Using Feminine Images of God to Describe AI,” this year’s Genevieve Staudt Intercultural Lecture at Elmhurst University. Her talk will center other aspects of God’s being from biblical texts and feminist theology, to think about AI on different terms. Does embracing feminine images of God offer new ways to talk about AI and its possibilities?

In addition to her role in the computer science department at UIC, Clayville teaches in the medical school. Formerly, she was the acting director of the Zygon Center for Religion and Science, and also has worked as a chaplain and ethicist at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Her current work focuses on the intersection of religion and technology. 

Established in 2002, the Genevieve Staudt Intercultural Lecture is held each spring as part of Elmhurst University’s celebration of Women’s History Month. Genevieve Staudt joined then-Elmhurst College in 1932 as a professor in the education department, and later became the first woman administrator at the University, serving first as dean of women and then dean of students.

The Genevieve Staudt Intercultural Lecture begins at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6, in the Frick Center, Founders Lounge. Admission is free but reservations are encouraged, at The intercultural lectures and other diverse cultural programming at Elmhurst University support community engagement and lifelong learning, and prepare students to thrive as adaptive leaders. For more information, email

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