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Pope Francis Addresses G7 Leaders on Ethics and AI

At this historical moment, we need a surplus of ethics, good and healthy politics, multilateral decisions, and the pursuit of the common good: Pope Francis’s message to the leaders of the G7 nations moves on different levels and links various topics, starting from the most important anthropological and scientific challenge on the horizon, the development of Artificial Intelligence. He immediately explains why: ‘we cannot allow such a powerful and indispensable tool to reinforce the technocratic paradigm; rather, we must make artificial intelligence a bulwark against its expansion,’ avoiding that algorithms decide whether ‘to take the life of a human being.’ When he speaks of the technocratic paradigm – a concept very present in his preaching – he refers to the risk of imposing uniform anthropological, socio-economic, and cultural models that bring a ‘totalizing vision of the world’ dominated by the few who hold power.

Pope Francis reads the speech in its shortened form, although he has handed the heads of state the longer version, which includes explanations where he elaborates on his concerns about the uncontrolled use of AI, which he describes as a ‘powerful, fascinating, and tremendous tool’ requiring a reflection commensurate with the situation. Naturally, it is not a halt but a discernment, salvaging all the good that this scientific frontier will bring in various fields of daily life.

Here is the central passage: ‘The theme of artificial intelligence is often perceived as ambivalent: on the one hand, it excites for the possibilities it offers, on the other, it generates fear for the consequences it portends. In this regard, it can be said that we all, albeit to varying degrees, are traversed by two emotions: we are enthusiastic when we imagine the progress that can derive from artificial intelligence, but at the same time, we are fearful when we see the inherent dangers of its use. We cannot, after all, doubt that the advent of artificial intelligence represents a true cognitive-industrial revolution, which will contribute to the creation of a new social system characterized by complex epochal transformations. For example, artificial intelligence could allow for the democratization of access to knowledge, the exponential progress of scientific research, the possibility of delegating exhausting work to machines; but, at the same time, it could bring with it greater injustice between advanced and developing nations, between dominant and oppressed social classes, thus endangering the possibility of a ‘culture of encounter’ in favor of a ‘culture of discard.’

In his reflection, the Pope does not dwell on religion or sacred texts, except for a phrase from the Book of Exodus: ‘The Holy Scripture attests that God has given men his Spirit so that they may have wisdom, intelligence, and knowledge in every kind of work.’ His reasoning develops on a philosophical and ethical level, ending with an appeal. ‘Can an effective path towards universal fraternity and social peace be found without good politics? Our answer to these last questions is: no! Politics is needed! I want to reiterate on this occasion that in the face of so many petty and immediate interest-driven forms of politics, political greatness shows itself when, in difficult moments, it operates based on great principles and thinking of the common good in the long term. Political power struggles to embrace this duty in a national project and even more so in a common project for present and future humanity.’

The papal intervention is introduced by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who thanks him for his participation and for agreeing to stay in the session of exchanges between heads of state at the G7. Next to the Pope at the large white table sits French President Macron, with whom he had a bilateral meeting just a few hours earlier, in addition to the conversation with Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and the President of the International Monetary Fund. As soon as he enters the room in a wheelchair, escorted by the Prime Minister, everyone gives him a long applause. The King of Jordan greets him with a kiss, as do Argentine President Milei, President Lula, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

This article is automatically translated

Originally Appeared Here

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