Pontifical Academy for Life: Yes to artificial intelligence, but with ethics

A woman touches a robotic hand (AFP or licensors)

An article by the Pontifical Academy for Life relaunches the appeal signed in Rome in February calling for ethics in artificial intelligence.

By Vatican News

The authors of the article “Contributions from the Catholic Church to ethical reflections in the digital era” are experts from the Pontifical Academy for Life. The article was published in the latest issue of ‘Nature Machine Intelligence’, the Nature Research journal that addresses a wide range of topics in machine learning, robotics and artificial intelligence.

The Document

The article begins by recalling the signing of Rome Call for AI Ethics, a statement regarding the need for human-centric AI ethics principles that was drafted by an interdisciplinary working group coordinated by the Pontifical Academy for Life.

This Document was signed in Rome in February by the Pontifical Academy for Life, Microsoft, Ibm, and by representatives of branches of the European Parliament, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, and the Italian Government. Its objective is to guarantee a future in which digital innovation and technological progress are at the service of human genius and creativity and not their gradual replacement.

AI Ethics

In their article, the group from the Pontifical Academy for Life reflect the Call for AI ethics through the exploration of themes such personification, mediation and intelligence. The article highlights how Christian anthropology promotes an ethic that is open to the future and to science and technology.

It also emphasises the importance of the dialogue already initiated between technology experts and researchers in the field of social sciences which, it is hoped, should extend to include reflections in the philosophical and theological fields with benefits for all.

Technological progress, environment and equity

The concluding remarks underline that digital innovation and technological progress must contribute to human development and benefit, and respect the environment. The benefits must also be achieved through equitable actions, comprehensive and inclusive cooperation and through the strengthening of dialogue between religious denominations.

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