Lille. Can digital and ethics coexist? An engineer and a priest question each other, in a book

Pierre Giorgini and Father Thierry Magnin. (©DR)

“Towards a civilization of the algorithm? » Pierre Giorgini and Thierry Magnin offer in a book a “Christian look at an ethical challenge”. Machines don’t have to clear us to think good and bad!

If the question of digital technology is on everyone’s mind, the fact remains that what to do with it and how to approach it in the construction of our society is a matter of debate for a long time.

Written with four hands by Pierre Giorgini, engineer, former president-rector of the Catholic University of Lille and the priest, physicist and theologian Thierry Magnin, today president-rector delegate for the humanities at the Catholic University of Lille, this work original addresses the subject of digital technology from an ethical angle.

Do not neglect the spiritual

The purpose of this book is to analyze what the emergence of the technosciences does to scientific truth which wavers under the blows of the digital and to question this civilization of the algorithm in its scientific, anthropological and spiritual aspects.

We must therefore look the future in the face and learn to master this “civilization of the algorithm” from which we will not escape, without forsaking Christianity and spirituality.

Neither technolaters nor technophobes…

A few months ago, the authors opened a chair at the Catholic University of Lille with the team from the Ethics laboratory and the faculty of theology, “Sciences, technosciences and faith in the era of integral ecology”. They are therefore well placed to alert us to what is happening in biomimicry, nanotechnology, biotechnology, computer science and cognitive science (NBIC).

We find in this book Teilhard de Chardin who said that “the future of the thinking earth is organically linked to the reversal of the forces of hatred into forces of charity…. » but also Jacques Ellul who considered to him, as the authors underline it, that « the technique becomes the new sacredness of the man in a nature justly desacralized by the Christian tradition ».

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What can Christianity do in the face of digital challenges?

“Science without conscience is only ruin of the soul”, said Rabelais already in the 16th century. The science/technology/faith dilemma is not new. But if ultimately man has changed little, his environment has become terribly complex.

With digital, algorithms, artificial intelligence and big data, we have opened Pandora’s box. But we are not obliged to surrender our free will to machines, even “intelligent” ones.

The digital does not clear us of thinking good and bad. And what can we say today about all the perversity of the control of weapons of mass destruction associated with that of weapons of mass influence.

Seven “ethical buttresses”

“Will it take a global cataclysm devastating human lives”, tell us the authors of this book “to make it lead to an informational Hiroshima”? Faced with the possibility of the coming Apocalypse, is it not time to restore man to his natural place, the first, before it is too late?

To understand the world of tomorrow, we must not be afraid of it but realize that everything is linked, and rethink our concepts in the light of integral ecology, relying on the seven “ethical buttresses” developed by Pierre Giorgini.

Ethical vigilance

Based on reason and conscience, these ethical buttresses start from the principle that “ethical vigilance in the face of the digital revolution is everyone’s business”.

To complete this reflection, one can read with profit the last book of Pierre Giorgini on the contributory revolution. He calls for a world where the best lever to overcome the economic, ecological and political crisis of which we are victims would be collective intelligence.

Francoise Objois

Pierre Giorgini and Thierry Magnin “Towards a civilization of the algorithm? » ed. Bayard; Pierre Giorgini, “The contributory revolution”, Iste Editions.

From October 26 to 30, 2022, in Lille: Biennale Ecoposs “Let’s dare to praise the future!” »

Next October the Catholic University of Lille, a reference learning city since 1875, will organize its first Ecoposs Biennale with the ambition of demonstrating that a sustainable and ethical future is possible by offering a number of events intended to encourage everyone .ne to engage in the ecological and societal transition. There is no question here of cultivating a blissful optimism but a constructive and ethical optimism with a desirable and ethical future in sight.

Under the leadership of Pierre Giorgini, President of the Scientific and Orientation Council and Louis-Marie Clouet, Project Director, a great moment of foresight for all audiences is in the process of being set up. At the same time fair, festival, forum and factory, Ecoposs invites families, children, students, retirees, teachers, experts, researchers, professionals, entrepreneurs, start-ups… to visit, learn, debate, stroll, and why not be inspired.

Mark your calendars for the date of October 26 at the Nouveau Siècle with Cyril Dion and Eva Sadoun at the opening of the “Imagine” film festival. During the Biennale, we will be able to come across on the Campus Vauban during the various conferences, meetings and debates, Etienne Klein, Carlos Moreno, Laurence Grancolas, Virginie Raisson-Victor, Serge Soudoplatoff and a few others.

On the weekend of October 29 and 30, a book fair will bring together 80 authors (Literature, human and social sciences, essays, youth, science fiction…). A short story competition for high school students and young adults on the theme “Give us good news from the future” is organized in partnership with the magazine Phosphore.

The Semaines Sociales de France on the theme of desirable futures will take place on the same dates as the book fair. Some 200 events are also planned. We will tell you more in a few weeks….

Places: Campus Vauban, Palace of Fine Arts, New Century. Website:


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Lille. Can digital and ethics coexist? An engineer and a priest question each other, in a book

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