The Atlantic

MIT Now Has a Humanist Chaplain to Help Students With the Ethics of Tech

Greg Epstein wants the next wave of entrepreneurs to start considering the implications of their work.
Source: Brian Snyder / Reuters

Even some of the most powerful tech companies start out tiny, with a young innovator daydreaming about creating the next big thing. As today’s tech firms receive increased moral scrutiny, it raises a question about tomorrow’s: Is that young person thinking about the tremendous ethical responsibility they’d be taking on if their dream comes true?

Greg Epstein, the recently appointed humanist chaplain at MIT, sees his new role as key to helping such entrepreneurial students think through the ethical ramifications of their work. As many college students continue to move from organized religion, some universities have like Epstein to help non-religious students lead ethical, meaningful lives. At MIT, Epstein plans to spark conversations about the ethics of technology—conversations that will sometimes involve religious groups on campus and that may sometimes carry over to Harvard, where he has held (and will continue to hold) the same position since 2005.

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