I wish I could devote this graduation 演讲 solely to gratitude and celebration. 但我们都是成年人了. And we need to talk about the hard stuff too.
From the paralysis of government to enact gun control to the threats to our democracy we witnessed on January 6, 2021, our society is in a state of moral uncertainty.
你怎么样?, 作为年轻人, step into this world and become people able to navigate complex, 棘手的决定? 你怎么样? know what you believe and how do you figure that out?
尽管存在许多道德体系, 你被赐予了一份富有的礼物, ancient framework in Judaism that will help guide you and center you as you confront the questions of the 21st Century.
Today, I’ve chosen two real-world case studies to examine with you:
as the US government was preparing for a full withdrawal from Afghanistan, international NGOs and governments began to evacuate their citizens. 随着时间的流逝, it became abundantly clear that only a fraction of the Afghanis who would face potential hardship were going to be evacuated. Remember those excruciating photos from the Kabul airport? How did people working in governmental and international aid organizations prioritize who would stay and who would go? Should all Afghani translators who worked for the US armed forces get first priority? What about the newly educated class of professional women who might be relegated to house arrest should the Taliban seize power? And then there were thousands of foreign aid workers who had spent the past 20 years building hospitals, 道路, 阿富汗的学校. 他们不应该坐最后一班飞机吗? 谁会留下，谁会离开?
塔木德，在巴巴·梅齐亚, relates the following analogous situation:
Two people were traveling on the road and one of them has a bottle of water. If both drink, they will both die; if one drinks he will arrive at the town.
Jewish authorities were debating cases of triage thousands of years ago. Not surprisingly, there is a deep rabbinic debate or machloket about how to handle such a situation. Rabbi Akiva suggested a utilitarian approach which is to maximize human life by giving the water to only one of the people. 晚些时候, other rabbis added to Akiva’s ruling by saying that the water should be given to the individual with the highest likelihood of survival and the chance to live the best quality of life.
Torah不是答案的钥匙. It will not give you a “yes” or “no” answer. It will not be able to tell you exactly who should be evacuated from the battlefields of Afghanistan, 但它确实给了我们道德指引, with its rich stories and beautiful metaphors, 综合起来看, it guides us when we are confronted with incredibly difficult decisions.
在过去几年里, we have seen artificial intelligence make often astonishing and sometimes unsettling advances in how computers can interact with humans. New technology allows machines to respond to questions, interpret nuance, and read social cues. 尖端算法可以结合视觉, 演讲, and language capabilities rather than treat them as separate tasks.
Who among us has not had the following experience?
You have a fleeting thought of buying that baseball bat, 那双鞋, 或者音乐会的门票. 几天后, 你打开网络浏览器阅读新闻, only to be bombarded by advertisements urging you to buy that same product.
What is the limit of replacing human interaction with robotic ones? What are the dangers of allowing robots to acquire capacities of empathy and social interaction? 机器会成为决策者吗? Can we trust them and do we want to trust them?
Because all of you will be consumers of future technology, how will you navigate the moral uncertainties that it brings?
In Judaism, there is a core idea that humans are G-d’s partner in the creation process.
And G-d blessed the seventh day and declared it holy—having ceased on it from all the work of creation which G-d created to make.
看最后一个短语. 你注意到了什么? 希伯来语的语法很不寻常. “Asher Barah Elohim La’asot” What is the accurate translation here?
It is technically translated as “Which G-D created to make”
The Rabbis interpreted this unusual syntax to mean “God created earth for humans to make and to improve upon.” We were given intelligence to improve ourselves and the world we live in. To me that means that we humans have latitude to innovate but we must be careful that our innovations are truly improvements. While the Rabbis could not have possibly imagined our modern day robots, they did give us guidance on how to proceed as we innovate. In many ways, this is a lesson on the need for humility.
2022届:塔尔木德课程先放一边, I’ve also gotten to know your class very well over the past few years, 尤其是在过去的一年里. I know each of you has had to make difficult choices, 学习如何在自己的生活中进行分类, demonstrating your strong sense of right and wrong, and being willing to advocate for what you believe is right.
My hope is that as you continue to face these ethical questions, you will reach back to what you have learned here and that your understanding of Judaism will help guide you. This Jewish legacy and ancient framework is truly a life long gift that your parents and teachers have given you. 好好享受这份礼物，并明智地使用它.