Dr. Richard Land

Southern Evangelical Seminary Hosts Naming Contest for New NAO Robot

March 4, 2014

​Students and Community Members Have Until March 15 to Submit Names for Chance to Win $1,700 Prize Packag

​Southern Evangelical Seminary’s new NAO robot is charming the campus community, but is currently nameless. A contest this month will change that and give the most recent addition to SES a new identity.

Already a leader in apologetics education, SES made huge strides as a frontrunner in the research of ethics in science and technology with the purchase and unveiling of its new NAO humanoid robot last month. Faculty and students have already begun using the robot for research into the ethical dilemmas that arise with the presence of advanced technology in everyday life.

SES is hosting a naming contest for the NAO robot, in which students and the public may participate and will award the winner a generous prize package including a $250 Apple gift certificate; a pair of tickets to SES’ 2014 National Conference on Christian Apologetics; the choice of either Dr. Norman Geisler’s online SES class, Introduction into Apologetics, or SES President Dr. Richard Land’s online SES class, Christian Ethics (each class earns the student three credit hours); and a one-year subscription to SES’ Christian Apologetics Journal. The total prize package value is over $1,700, and the deadline to submit entries is March 15, 2014. Entrants may submit their proposed name for the robot online.

“The introduction of the NAO robot has been a fun and exciting time for our students and faculty,” Land said. “Having this new addition at SES has stimulated the critical thinking of our students as they think about and plan for the research doors the new robot will open. They are asking new and challenging ethical questions because of the robot’s presence on campus. We’re all looking forward to the intellectual dialogue the robot will bring to our community of scholars.”

The NAO robot features various communication devices, including a voice synthesizer, LED lights, and two high-fidelity speakers. NAO robots have never been used at a seminary but have been used in research at universities and research labs around the world, including MIT, Tokyo University, University of South Carolina, and Carnegie Mellon. These other top-notch institutions have used the robot for research in topics such as computer science, human-machine interaction, and the social sciences. NAO, which has also been used in the education of autistic students, boasts face and object recognition, automatic speech recognition, text-to-speech in seven languages and whole body motion.

At SES, Dr. Kevin Staley, Associate Professor of Theology, will spearhead the robot research, along with Dr. Land. Staley is an expert in the application of a biblical worldview to moral issues involving advanced technologies. Specifically, his specialty lies in investigating the ethical issues that surround robotics, artificial intelligence, and human enhancement technologies.

The robot will also be a “featured guest” at the 2014 Southern Evangelical Seminary 21st Annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics, set for October 10 and 11, at Calvary Church, 5801 Pineville-Matthews Road, Charlotte, NC.

Registration is open for the 2014 conference that will focus on “Defending a Never-Changing Faith in an Ever-Changing World” and equipping Christians to answer questions about their beliefs rationally and intelligently as they explore the field of apologetics—especially important as it becomes more crucial for Christians to defend their faith in an often faithless world.

For more information on this fall’s conference, visit http://conference.ses.edu/.

Dr. Richard Land, having served as an academic vice president, has taught as a visiting or adjunct professor for several seminaries and has authored or edited more than 15 books. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford University in England and his bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) from Princeton University. Land also earned a Master of Theology degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he received the Broadman Seminarian Award as the outstanding graduating student. Dr. Land was the 2013 Watchman Award recipient from the Family Research Council for his leadership on moral and cultural issues. He also received the Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth from Biola University in 2010. Land served previously (1988-2013) as president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist Convention’s official entity assigned to address social, moral, and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families.

Southern Evangelical Seminary is a leader in apologetics education—teaching students to defend their faith and talk intelligently, passionately, and rationally about what they believe and why they believe it. Many courses focus on societal issues from a Christian worldview, delve into scientific apologetics, or contemplate creation research.  

Notable professors have joined the SES ranks in recent years, pointing to the fact that Southern Evangelical Seminary is focused on recruiting talent and building courses of study to remain at the top of the apologetic educational institutions in the U.S.

Southern Evangelical Seminary has been ranked No. 1 for its General Christian Apologetics Graduate Program by TheBestSchools.org’s “Top 10 Graduate Programs in Christian Apologetics.” For more information, visit www.ses.edu or call (800) 77-TRUTH.

For more information on SES or to set up an interview, contact Deborah Hamilton at dhamilton@hamiltonstrategies.com, 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096.

Southern Evangelical Seminary is an accredited Christian college and seminary in Matthews, N.C., offering a wide variety of degrees including bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees. Programs can be completed through residence in the Charlotte, N.C., area or online. The award-winning education at SES is distinctively Christian, focused on evangelism and world-engaging defense of the Christian faith—Christian Apologetics.