The Pope has quickly become one of AI’s biggest skeptics

Pope Francis became the first pontiff to speak at a G7 Summit — and he used his time to sound the alarm about the dangers of artificial intelligence.

Francis urged the politicians during the meeting in Italy to make sure humans always maintain oversight of the “exciting and fearsome tool” of AI, warning that if they don’t, humanity itself could be in danger, The Hill reported.

“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,” Francis said, according to the Associated Press. “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.”

One of Francis’s biggest concerns with AI is lethal robots that could make decisions on their own about whether to kill human targets without any human input. Francis pressed the world leaders to ban the use of these killing machines, advocating that, “No machine should ever choose to take the life of a human being,” the AP reported.

This isn’t the first time Pope Francis has voiced his concern about the rapid development of artificial intelligence.

Back in 2019, years before the release of ChatGPT rocked the AI industry as we knew it, Francis warned that if Silicon Valley leaders aren’t careful with AI, the technology could cause humanity to regress “to a form of barbarism dictated by the law of the strongest.”

And last year, the Vatican released a statement in which the pope stressed the importance of an open dialogue about AI’s “disruptive possibilities and ambivalent effects.”

The Pope also issued a lengthy statement in January — ahead of this year’s upcoming AI-themed World Day of Peace — outlining the “grave risks” as well as the “exciting opportunities” that artificial intelligence could herald.

And the pope himself has been a victim of AI deception — last year, an AI-generated deepfake of him rocking an all-white puffy coat went viral before people realized it was a fake.

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Grace Eliza Goodwin