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Pope Francis applauds AI advances but warns to use it ethically

Pope Francis at the Minerva Dialogues
Vatican Media

Following the launch of new generative AI products like ChatGPT, Bing Chat, Google Bard, DuckAssist, and Brave Summarizer, Pope Francis has decided to share his thoughts on these developments at an annual gathering of scientists and experts called the Minerva Dialogues. The Pope said that he applauds the development of these technologies because they can deliver many benefits but he also cautioned about their unethical or irresponsible use.

Addressing the audience of scientists, engineers, business leaders, lawyers, and representatives of the Catholic Church including curial officials, theologians, and ethicists, Pope Francis said:

“I am convinced that the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning has the potential to contribute in a positive way to the future of humanity; we cannot dismiss it. At the same time, I am certain that this potential will be realized only if there is a constant and consistent commitment on the part of those developing these technologies to act ethically and responsibly. It is reassuring to know that many people in these fields are working to ensure that technology remains human-centred, ethically grounded and directed toward the good."

Over the years, we’ve seen many charitable efforts from tech companies to help shrink the gaps between those who can afford to get online and those who can’t. The Pope alluded to the increased inequality that digital technologies have brought about and asked if there was a risk of increased inequality as technology gets even more capable, giving a bigger advantage to those who have access to it over those who do not.

Moving away from AI a bit, Pope Francis also touched on algorithms. He warned that a person’s fundamental value can’t be determined by data alone and therefore we should be cautious about leaving social and economic judgements to the whim of algorithms that simply process data about prior behaviour.

Source: Vatican via Vatican News

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