Pope Francis has raised concerns about the use of AI technologies without appropriate controls.
The Vatican has teamed up with tech giants Microsoft and IBM in a call for facial recognition regulation. They are aiming to ethically develop and control intrusive technologies which also include artificial intelligence (AI).
The three parties agree that AI should be developed in a way that it will maintain a respect for privacy.
The three groups have said that artificial intelligence technology should be respectful of privacy, should function reliably in the absence of bias, should keep human rights in mind and should have transparent operations. As a component of this effort, they are also seeking careful facial recognition regulation.
Pope Francis has already been vocal regarding his concerns over the growing uncontrolled use of AI technologies. He expressed his support to the effort for control over these forms of tech in a speech read on his behalf at a recent conference. The conference was attended by Brad Smith, president of Microsoft, and John Kelly, executive vice president of IBM. The pope was unable to deliver the speech himself due to illness.
Pope Francis is seeking facial recognition as well as “algor-ethics” in AI development.
The pope called for algorithms to be developed ethically in what is known as “algor-ethics”. He cautioned about the dangers of the misuse of AI for the purposes of data extraction for political or commercial goals, which frequently occurs without the affected individuals being aware.
“This asymmetry, by which a select few know everything about us while we know nothing about them, dulls critical thought and the conscious exercise of freedom,” said Pope Francis’ speech. “Inequalities expand enormously; knowledge and wealth accumulate in a few hands with grave risks for democratic societies.”
The document released by The Vatican, Microsoft and IBM specifically placed the potential abuse of facial recognition tech in the spotlight. It called for new forms of regulation “to promote transparency and compliance with ethical principles.” It underscored that it is particularly important when using advanced tech with a greater risk of impacting human rights. It pointed out that facial recognition regulation would be central to that effort.