I am Fr. Dominique Degoul, Jesuit: I was appointed in September 2019 director of the future Teilhard de Chardin Centre, by Fr. François Boëdec, my provincial, and by Mgr. Michel Pansard; Bishop of Evry. I am also chaplain of Centrale-Supélec and HEC.

In these times of confinement, it is good that I give you some news on the developments of the Teilhard de Chardin Centre project.

As far as construction is concerned, a number of steps are being taken: the application for a building permit is currently being processed; given the deadlines, we can reasonably hope for an opening in 2022.

While waiting for the time of opening, the animation of the future center has started to be set up.

It is the axis concerning reflection on the ethical and societal implications of contemporary technological upheavals, the most innovative, which has mobilized me the most this year.

A first team, which, as last year, organised its activities in the Franciscan Convent of the Clarté-Dieu, has continued to organise seminars in the field of integral ecology, on topics such as “Waste and the culture of waste”, “city and mobility”, “living differently”… (link: https://www.facebook.com/ecologieintegrale.ctdc). This team is led by Benoit Dubigeon, a Franciscan, Anne Didier-Pétremant, who works on sustainable food issues, Bernard Saugier, from the association Foi et culture scientifique, and Hervé Covès, a researcher at INRA.

A second team, led by Alain Bravo, former director of Supélec, Bertrand Thirion, researcher at INRIA, and Thomas Deneux, researcher at the Institut des neuro-sciences Paris-Saclay, organised a seminar on artificial intelligence issues in 2018-2019. This year, they had planned to organise a “general public” conference for the students of the plateau, with Thierry Magnin (priest and physicist) and Laurence Devillers (professor of artificial intelligence at the Sorbonne), to talk about what artificial intelligence is and to propose the bases for ethical reflection. This conference, scheduled for 22 April, has been postponed to better times.

On the subject of artificial intelligence, a discussion on a more entrepreneurial approach should soon be launched with Etienne de Roquigny, member of the association “Espérance et Algorithmie” and Eric Charmetant, Jesuit from the Centre Sèvres.

Finally, I currently have two lines of thought in mind:

– On the one hand, a few contacts make me think that a third team could be set up on the managerial dimension of the technical upheavals we are experiencing: what kind of company, what kind of relationship to work do we want for tomorrow?

– On the other hand, I have started to get in touch with doctoral students and young researchers, to see how the reflections carried out by the Teilhard Centre could meet their expectations, and how they could contribute to the reflection.

At this stage, I am delighted to note, in the course of the interviews that I am able to conduct with the various parties involved, that the idea that presided over its birth, bringing together the scientific world and ethical, spiritual and theological reflection, is arousing enthusiasm and creativity!

See you soon