Tesla Motors, Pok?mon Go and Hair-Splitting Talmudic Arguments

Posted Thursday, Jan 26th, 2017

Beginning Sunday, January 29, at 11:45 a.m., Rabbi Yanky Raskin of Chabad of Riverdale will teach a fascinating new six-session course from the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) called “The Dilemma: Modern Conundrums. Talmudic Debates. Your Solutions.”

In an example of one such conundrum, Tesla Motors is currently programming self-driving cars for instances when death is inevitable. Should they program the cars to swerve and avoid killing more pedestrians, but kill one whose life was previously not endangered? Should it favor the lives of pedestrians over passengers? Should it favor the lives of younger people over those who are older? And should owners be given the ability to determine these settings?

In another example relating to the recently popularized Pokémon Go mobile app: Should the game’s creators be held liable in the hundreds of cases of trespassing and damages that were incurred because of Pokémon characters negligently programmed to be found on private properties?

“In ‘The Dilemma’ we encounter fascinating, real-life conundrums; situations in which your gut instinctively responds one way, but your brain tells you quite the opposite,” explained Rabbi Raskin. “To solve these dilemmas, participants are asked to break into study groups and explore hair-splitting Talmudic arguments that participants then debate and apply to solve the cases using new, interactive polling technology.”

“‘The Dilemma’ is a mental expedition in which participants mind-wrestle with situations that force them to choose between two reasonable truths,” said Rabbi Levi Y. Shemtov of Chabad of Riverdale. “Participants analyze, discuss and debate original Talmudic texts to solve dilemmas and get an authentic taste of dynamic Talmud study.”

“I find people in Riverdale love having the opportunity to engage in social discourse, particularly when it involves fascinating intellectual challenges and hot topics such as Pokémon Go and Tesla’s self-driving cars,” continued Rabbi Levi Y. Shemtov. “This is by far the most captivating course we’ve ever offered and I encourage everyone to attend.”

‘The Dilemma’ is accredited in Riverdale for continuing legal education credits for attorneys and others in the legal professions. Like all JLI programs, this course is designed to appeal to people at all levels of knowledge, including those without any prior experience or background in Jewish learning. All JLI courses are open to the public, and attendees need not be affiliated with a particular synagogue, temple, or other house of worship.

Interested students may call 718-549-1100 ext. 10 or visit www.ChabadRiverdale.org for registration and for other course-related information.


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