Pope Francis Educates World Leaders and Tech Experts on AI

Pope Francis is bringing the Catholic Church into the center of discussion surrounding artificial intelligence.

  • From June 20 to 22, the Augustinian Patristic Pontifical Institute in Rome held an international conference on “Generative Artificial Intelligence and Technocratic Paradigm,” which included an audience from Francis and Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin.
  • On June 14, the pope addressed the G-7 summit in Bari, Italy, on artificial intelligence, marking the first time a pope has addressed world leaders in this session.
  • Earlier this year, the advocacy group Catholic Answers created an AI priest named “Father Justin” to help users learn about Catholicism. After the bot offered to take confessions, it was stripped of ecclesiastical status.
  • In 2020, Francis spearheaded the Rome Call for AI Ethics signed by the Vatican, Microsoft, ibm and others.

A papal warning: In his meetings and speeches, Francis discussed the ethics and implications of AI with world leaders, scientists and company representatives. He warned of autonomous weapons in warfare, AI enriching the rich, and the surrender to technocratic power. He concluded that AI must be used for the benefit of humanity.

The Guardian wrote:

Pope Francis, invited by the devout Catholic and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, was warmly greeted when he reached the summit of mammon, the G-7 club of Western wealthy countries.

Even if G-7 is used to listening to the prophecies of economists, he is the first religious leader ever to attend this event, and to give his prediction of what the future holds. … Not only did he address the G-7 collectively, his formidable diplomatic operation had arranged 10 bilaterals ….

The Vatican’s role: The Catholic Church is among the world’s oldest and most influential and religious institutions. But the power behind it is not what the church claims.

To see its leader working to steer the use of powerful forces such as AI should cause serious concern.

Learn more: Read “The Church That Ruled the World.”