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Pope Francis urges ethical framework for AI at G7 Summit

Pope Francis urged world leaders at the G7 summit to develop an ethical framework for artificial intelligence (AI) that safeguards human dignity, highlighting AI’s potential to both enrich and disrupt society.

In his address, Pope Francis expressed deep concerns about AI systems autonomously making critical decisions, particularly in areas such as the judiciary and military operations. 

“No machine should ever choose to take the life of a human being,” he said, calling for a ban on lethal autonomous weapons and stressing the importance of maintaining human oversight over AI.

The Pope pointed out the contradictory nature of AI, noting, “Artificial intelligence could enable a democratization of access to knowledge… Yet at the same time, it could bring with it a greater injustice between advanced and developing nations.” 

He emphasized the need for careful management of AI to prevent widening global inequalities.

Pope Francis warned of the dangers posed by a technocratic approach to AI and the risk “of becoming a far more dangerous paradigm, which I have already identified as the ‘technocratic paradigm’.” 

He criticized the focus on technology at the expense of human values and called for policies that ensure AI serves the common good.

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Highlighting the essential role of politics in regulating AI, Pope Francis cited his encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, to underscore the necessity of governance that transcends short-term gains and addresses the long-term welfare of all humanity.

“Only a healthy politics…is capable of overseeing this process, he said, insisting that the development and deployment of AI technologies must prioritize the good of every human being.

The pontiff called for global cooperation to moderate the influence of algorithms and AI, referencing the 2020 Rome Call for AI Ethics as a positive step towards establishing guiding principles that emphasize ethical considerations and the welfare of humanity.

Pope Francis also highlighted the potential negative impacts of AI on education. He warned against overdependence on AI for learning and information dissemination.

“It runs the risk of legitimizing fake news and strengthening a dominant culture’s advantage, but, in short, it also undermines the educational process itself,” he said. 

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