September 30, 2019

Artificial Intelligence could lead to humanity ‘barbarism’, says Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Pope Francis, showing a bruise around his left eye and eyebrow caused by an accidental hit against the popemobile’s window glass while visiting the old sector of Cartagena,Colombia, is greeted by faithful on September 10, 2017. Nearly 1.3 million worshippers flocked to a mass by Pope Francis on Saturday in the Colombian city known as the stronghold of the late drug lord Pablo Escobar. / AFP PHOTO

Pope Francis urged Silicon Valley giants on Friday to make sure technological advances such as artificial intelligence do not lead to a new “form of barbarism” where the law of the strongest prevails over the common good.

FILE PHOTO: Nuns walk next to a member of the Swiss Guard during the weekly general audience at the Vatican, September 25, 2019. PHOTO: Reuters/Remo Casilli

Francis made his comments in an address to participants at a Vatican conference attended by executives from companies such as Facebook, Mozilla, and Western Digital as well as Nobel laureates, Catholic ethicists, government regulators, internet entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists, Reuters report noted.

The three-day gathering, which ends on Saturday, is discussing topics with tech jargon not commonly heard inside the Vatican such as algorithms and blockchain.

“The remarkable developments in the field of technology, in particular, those dealing with artificial intelligence, raise increasingly significant implications in all areas of human activity. For this reason, open and concrete discussions on this theme are needed now more than ever,” Francis told the participants.

They include Mitchell Baker, executive chairwoman of Mozilla, Gavin Corn, associate general counsel and director of the cybersecurity law team at Facebook, Western Digital senior vice president Jim Welsh and Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn.

Francis said technology needed “both theoretical and practical moral principles”.

According to Reuters, he warned of the dangers of the use of artificial intelligence “to circulate tendentious opinions and false data that could poison public debates and even manipulate the opinions of millions of people, to the point of endangering the very institutions that guarantee peaceful civil coexistence”.

“If mankind’s so-called technological progress were to become an enemy of the common good, this would lead to an unfortunate regression to a form of barbarism dictated by the law of the strongest,” he said.

Vanguard News Nigeria.