Pope Francis warned that artificial intelligence could pose a risk to society, highlighting its “disruptive possibilities and ambivalent effects” and urging those who would develop or use AI to do so responsibly.
In a statement Tuesday, Francis alluded to the threat of algorithmic bias in technology and called on the public for vigilance “so that a logic of violence and discrimination does not take root in the production and use of such devices, at the expense of the most fragile and excluded.”
“Injustice and inequalities fuel conflicts and antagonisms,” Francis continued. “The urgent need to orient the concept and use of artificial intelligence in a responsible way, so that it may be at the service of humanity and the protection of our common home, requires that ethical reflection be extended to the sphere of education and law.”
Francis’s remarks dovetail with calls by some AI experts to ensure that algorithms are properly “aligned” in development to support human rights and other widely shared values. Other industry experts and policymakers have expressed concerns that AI could facilitate the spread of fraud, misinformation, cyberattacks and perhaps even the creation of biological weapons.
Francis himself has been the subject of AI-generated deepfakes. Earlier this year, an AI-generated image of Francis wearing a white, puffy Balenciaga-inspired coat went viral.
Tuesday’s message announced the theme for 2024’s World Day of Peace, which the Pope said would focus on AI and peace.
“The protection of the dignity of the person,” he said, “and concern for a fraternity effectively open to the entire human family, are indispensable conditions for technological development to help contribute to the promotion of justice and peace in the world.”