Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning , Next-Generation Technologies & Secure Development

Pope Francis in G7 Speech Warns Against Nonhuman-Centric AI

Pontiff Calls for Ban of Autonomous Weapons and for Ethical Use of Emerging Tech
Pope Francis in G7 Speech Warns Against Nonhuman-Centric AI
Pope Francis said artificial intelligence shouldn't surplant human values. (Image: Shutterstock)

Pope Francis during a historic Friday speech at the G7 summit urged world leaders to ban the use of lethal autonomous weapons and warned against a future in which artificial intelligence systems ultimately outweigh human decision-making.

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The pope addressed the Group of Seven about the risks and opportunities associated with AI and other emerging technologies, making him the first pope to attend the G7 since it was established more than four decades ago.

"We would condemn humanity to a future without hope if we took away people's ability to make decisions about themselves and their lives, by dooming them to depend on the choices of machines," the pope said. "We need to ensure and safeguard a space for proper human control over the choices made by artificial intelligence programs: Human dignity itself depends on it."

Pope Francis has emerged as an influential voice in the discussion about global AI governance. He previously called for an international treaty that would ensure AI is developed and implemented ethically, and he has stressed the need for "adequate, meaningful and consistent" human oversight of lethal autonomous weapons systems.

The pope said Friday that "the onus is on politics" to ensure the ethical use of AI globally and to eliminate the use of autonomous weapons.

"No machine should ever choose to take the life of a human being," he said.

The pontiff described AI as an "epochal transformation" for humanity and added, "At the same time, it could bring with it a greater injustice between advanced and developing nations or between dominant and oppressed social classes."

The G7 includes the United States, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Canada and Japan. This year, host country Italy invited the presidents of Turkey and Kenya, as well as the prime minister of India and a total of 10 additional nations to participate in the summit.

The G7 will plan to collaborate on global education and skills training around AI systems, according to a reported draft closing statement from the meeting.

About the Author

Chris Riotta

Chris Riotta

Managing Editor, GovInfoSecurity

Riotta is a journalist based in Washington, D.C. He earned his master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he served as 2021 class president. His reporting has appeared in NBC News, Nextgov/FCW, Newsweek Magazine, The Independent and more.

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