Artificial Intelligence: Pope Francis Asks For Divine Help On AI And Robotics

Catholics should pray that robotics and AI will always serve human beings.

Pope Francis appealed to Catholics around the world to pray that robotics and AI would forever remain in the service of human beings. (Catholic News Agency)

Prayer intention

In a sign of the Vatican’s worries regarding the power, direction, and regulation of AI and robotics, Pope Francis made the appeal in his prayer intention for November 2020.

“We pray that the progress of robotics and artificial intelligence may always serve humankind,” reads the prayer intention.

The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network  illustrates and displays the prayer intention each month on its website.

The Vatican calls for an “algor-ethical” vision

The Vatican is concerned that technologies such as AI and robotics be used ethically and for greater good of mankind.

In February 2020, the Pontifical Academy for Life, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), IBM (NYSE: IBM), FAO, the Italia Government, signed the “Rome Call for AI Ethics”, a document developed to support an ethical approach to Artificial Intelligence.

The vision incorporated in the document is for a future in which technologies such as AI, robotics, and digitization “serve human genius and creativity and not their gradual replacement.”

The declaration rests on the three pillars of Rights, Education, and Ethics.

The document placed special emphasis on ethical AI, going so far as to coin the term  “algor-ethics.”

The term embodies the principles of transparency, inclusion, responsibility, impartiality, reliability, and security and privacy.

September 2020: “AI, Food for All. Dialogue and Experiences”

The Rome Call also included a specific statement on food security and AI. “It must be mindful of the complex reality of our ecosystem and be characterized by the way in which it cares for and protects the planet (our “common and shared home”) with a highly sustainable approach, which also includes the use of artificial intelligence in ensuring sustainable food systems in the future.”

In September 2020 the FAO, IBM, and Microsoft participated in the online event  “AI, Food for All. Dialogue and Experiences.”

It was a follow-up to the February Rome Call.

It also focused on concrete ways through which AI can contribute to achieving the goal of feeding an estimated global population of nearly 10 billion by 2050, and do this while safeguarding natural resources and addressing challenges such as climate change and the impacts of shocks including COVID-19.

Related Story: UC Davis Awarded $20M Grant For Researching Next-Gen Food Systems

Image Credit of Pope’s Prayer Intentions (Nov 20): Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network

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