Microsoft and IBM have joined the Vatican’s pledge for ethical use of artificial intelligence and became the first technology industry sponsors for Pope Francis’ Project, reported Reuters on February 28.
Vatican has presented the document in a workshop titled “The ‘Good’ Algorithm? Artificial Intelligence: Ethics, Law, Health”, organized by the Pontifical Academy for Life this week.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Italian government signed the document as well, reported the Vatican News.
According to Reuters, Pope’s pledge “Rome Call for AI Ethics” encourage tech sector to make steps in ensuring privacy and transparency, considering “the needs of all human beings”, as well as working reliably, without biases.
As executive vice president of IBM John Kelly III put it, Pope Francis started to be concerned about AI Ethics a year ago, especially in terms of equal access to new technological advances:
“His major concerns were, will it be available to everyone, or is it going to further bifurcate the haves and the have-not’s?”
In September 2019, during the Vatican conference, Pope Francis had given a speech on AI ethics, highlighting that although the technology is useful, Silicon Valley has to take seriously the mission to provide equal access to it and to prevent any possible misuse:
“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”
Vatican is also concerned how AI will affect the job market. After all, Oxford Economics predicted that humanity could lose 20 million jobs this decade.