Pope Francis asks for prayers for robots and AI

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Pope Francis asked the faithful from around the world to pray during the month of November that the progress of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) can always serve humanity.

The message is part of a series of prayer intentions that the pontiff publishes annually, and shares each month on YouTube to help Catholics “deepen their daily prayer”, focusing on specific topics. In September, the pope asked for prayers for “sharing the planet’s resources”; in August, for the “maritime world”; and now it’s time for robots and AI.

In his message, Pope Francis called for special attention to AI which, according to him, is “at the center of the historical change we are experiencing”. And that it’s not just about the benefits that robotics can bring to the world.

Technological progress and algorithms

Francisco says that technological progress is not always a sign of well-being for humanity, because if this progress contributes to increasing inequalities, it cannot be considered as real progress. “Future advances must be oriented towards respect for the dignity of the person”, warns the Pope.

The concern that technology could increase existing social divisions led the Vatican to sign, together with Microsoft and IBM, the “Call of Rome for AI Ethics”, a document in which some principles are fixed to guide the implementation of AI: transparency, inclusion, impartiality and reliability.

Even non-religious people are able to recognize that when it comes to implementing algorithms, the pope’s concern makes perfect sense.

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