Pope Francis: Someone’s life and future cannot be entrusted to an algorithm

Participants at the “Rome Call” meeting promoted by the Pontifical Academy of Life and the RenAIssance Foundation where the audience of Pope Francis on the 10 January 2023. Among them were Eliezer Simha Weisz and Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah, Mr Brad Smith, President of Microsoft, Mr Dario Gil, Global Vice-President of IBM, and Mr Maximo Torero Cullen, Chief Economist of FAO, the first signatories of the Rome Call, as well as the members of the various delegations.

This meeting was to the now signatories of the Rome Call for Artificial Intelligence Ethics. In his address to the signatories Pope Francis said he is grateful to the Pontifical Academy for Life and to the RenAIssance Foundation, for their commitment in promoting, through the Rome Call, a shared ethics regarding the great challenges that lie ahead in the area of artificial intelligence. He affirmed the participants that In agreeing on promoting a culture that places technology at the service of the common good of all and of the care of our common home, they are offering an example to many others.

The Pope said he is pleased to know that the signatories also wish to involve the other great world religions and men and women of goodwill so that “algor-ethics” – ethical reflection on the use of algorithms – will be increasingly present not only in public debate, but also in the development of technical solutions. The Roman Pontiff appealed that there must be vigilance and work to ensure that the discriminatory use of the instruments of technology does not take root at the expense of the most fragile and excluded.

“Let us always remember that the way we treat the last and least of our brothers and sisters speaks of the value we place upon all human life. We could take the example of asylum seekers: it is not acceptable that the decision about someone’s life and future be entrusted to an algorithm,” warned the Pope.

In the end the Pope expressed his support for the generosity and dynamism with which the participants have committed themselves, and invited them to continue, with boldness and discernment, in searching for ways that will lead to an ever greater involvement of all those who have the good of the human family at heart.

Full address on Vatican Press



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