· Vatican City ·

Holy See delegation at a summit on ‘Responsible Artificial Intelligence in the Military Domain’

AI at the service of humanity and integral development

 AI at the service of humanity and integral development  ING-008
24 February 2023

“In a world rife with conflict and injustice, let us use our human intelligence to place artificial intelligence at the service of humanity”. It’s what Francesca Di Giovanni, Undersecretary for the Multilateral Sector, Section for Relations with States and International Organisations, Head of Delegation of the Holy See, said at The Hague on Thursday, 16 February, during a summit on “Responsible Artificial Intelligence in the Military Domain”. Recalling, first of all, what Pope Francis has affirmed, that is, that “the indisputable benefit that humanity will be able to draw from technological progress depends on the degree to which the new possibilities at our disposal are employed in an ethical manner”. Di Giovanni stressed the importance of focusing efforts not only on “making AI ‘responsible’ in the military domain”, but also “to ‘responsibilize’ our hearts and minds to avoid conflicts altogether”.

The Holy See speaker noted that the term “‘responsible AI’ appears contradictory”, because “AI systems cannot think, feel, decide or take ‘responsibility’ for their actions as they lack moral agency”. Thus, she explained, “any armed attack must be carefully weighed and must prove its legitimacy”, which “includes its legality and conformity with its purposes, which must also be both ethical and lawful”. She then posed the question, “How would AI be able to respond to the principles of humanity and the dictates of morality and public conscience?”

The Undersecretary also stressed that concerns outlined at the summit “are not intended to hinder the research, development and use of technologies”, but rather, that “they can stimulate and orient technologies towards a more appropriate and useful horizon, which is not based merely on the criteria of utility or efficiency, but on furthering the common good of humanity for humanity, while respecting human dignity and furthering our integral human development”.

From here, the Holy See’s suggestion that an International Agency for Artificial Intelligence be established. “This Agency”, explained Di Giovanni, “could facilitate the full participation of all States in the exchange of AI-related technology for peaceful uses”. Among the objectives of such an approach, concluded the Undersecretary, “would be to prevent nefarious uses of AI, limit the unintended consequences of such use, and contribute to reducing inequalities by promoting the peaceful uses of AI for several civilian applications”.