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The Pope is now weighing in on AI development

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The Pope has weighed in on the debate on artificial intelligence (AI) development, urging world leaders and authorities to reach an international consensus to safeguard the rapid development of AI.

Pope Francis wants a treaty to regulate the evolving new technology, following his comments made ahead of World Peace Day on New Year’s Day.

He warned that human oversight and control will be essential to limit the influence of technology on critical human matters and quality of life.

“We cannot presume a priori that its development will make a beneficial contribution to the future of humanity and peace among peoples.”

“That positive outcome will only be achieved if we show ourselves capable of acting responsibly and respect such fundamental human values as inclusion, transparency, security, equity, privacy and reliability.”

The Pontiff stressed that it is the responsibility of the international community, world leaders and organizations (which includes big tech) to get it right and that measures will need to be taken for the greater good. This came with the acknowledgment that there will be benefits and advancement for humanity with AI, “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.”

Pope poses warning on AI

With headings that included “promise and risk”, this communication from the Holy See will carry authority, at a time when governments are sitting up to take notice of what is happening.

Last week, as reported by ReadWrite, the EU set a global precedent with an extensive AI regulation deal aimed at addressing concerns about societal impacts. The Vatican has now added its voice to this cause but it is a balancing act “to embrace the opportunities and confront the challenges posed by the digital revolution.”

The statement outlined how algorithms will have impacts on various social matters and that AI will learn from human input. Reliability and transparency are imperatives moving forward, particularly around communications and there is also the danger of AI being used for disinformation.

Image by Annett Klingner/ Pixabay


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