Pope Francis Lends His Voice Against AI’s Dark Side  

Pope Francis Lends His Voice Against AI's Dark SidePope Francis Lends His Voice Against AI's Dark Side

In this post:

  • The pope has called for international efforts toward regulating AI for good.
  • In his message, the pope spoke against lethal autonomous weapon systems, which he said are a cause for grave ethical concern.
  • The pope said AI should be directed towards integral human development.

Pope Francis has called for international action towards directing AI technology for good purposes and preventing its use from causing harm and conflicts.

“I urge the global community of nations to work together in order to adopt a binding international treaty that regulates the development and use of artificial intelligence in its many forms,” the pope stated in his World Day of Peace message

Pope Francis Speaks Against “Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems.”

In the statement, the pope particularly took aim at “lethal autonomous weapon systems.” He noted that such systems, including the weaponization of artificial intelligence, could result in new possibilities for ethical violations, as they cannot make ethical decisions as a human would. 

“Autonomous weapon systems can never be morally responsible subjects,” Francis wrote. “The unique human capacity for moral judgment and ethical decision-making is more than a complex collection of algorithms, and that capacity cannot be reduced to programming a machine, which, as ‘intelligent’ as it may be, remains a machine.”

The message also encouraged the use of AI in promoting integral human development. According to the pope, such a move would introduce important innovations in different sectors like agriculture, education and culture. 

AI for Peace

“I hope that the foregoing reflection will encourage efforts to ensure that progress in developing forms of artificial intelligence will ultimately serve the cause of human fraternity and peace,” added the message. 

It’s worth noting that this is not the first time the pope has spoken about AI. In October, Pope Francis also lent his voice to the need for regulatory oversight of AI technology. He categorised AI as part of the new technologies “endowed with disruptive possibilities and ambivalent effects.”

The pope cautioned against biases in AI algorithms, calling for assurances that “a logic of violence and discrimination does not take root in the production and use of such devices, at the expense of the most fragile and excluded.”

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