Pope Francis has called for the ethical use of artificial intelligence, warning against its unethical and irresponsible use. Speaking at the annual gathering of the ‘Minerva Dialogues’ in the Vatican, the Pope praised the potential benefits of technology and AI in fields such as medicine, engineering, and communications, but also raised concerns about its social and cultural impact.
He called for a constant and consistent commitment to ethical and responsible development and use of AI. “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,” he said. “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.”
The Pope emphasized the need for the intrinsic dignity of every man and woman to be the key criterion in evaluating emerging technologies, “these will prove ethically sound to the extent that they help respect that dignity and increase its expression at every level of human life.”
He also raised questions about the role of national and international institutions in holding technology companies accountable for the social and cultural impact of their products, as well as the risk of increased inequality undermining our sense of human and social solidarity.
The Pope warned against the use of algorithms that process data on an individual’s makeup and prior behavior, which can be contaminated by societal prejudices and preconceptions. He called for caution in delegating judgments to such algorithms and emphasized that a person’s past behavior should not be used to deny them the opportunity to change, grow, and contribute to society.
“The concept of intrinsic human dignity requires us to recognize and respect the fact that a person’s fundamental value cannot be measured by data alone,” he said. “We cannot allow algorithms to limit or condition respect for human dignity, or to exclude compassion, mercy, forgiveness, and above all, the hope that people are able to change.”