The Pope Teams Up with Microsoft and IBM on AI Ethics

Pope Francis waves from the Popemobile on his way to attend the Via Crucis on Copacabana Beach during World Youth Day celebrations on July 26, 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. More than 1.5 million pilgrims are expected to join the pontiff for his visit to the Catholic Church's World …
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Vatican officials plan to release principles promoting the ethical use of artificial intelligence with the support of Microsoft and IBM, according to a recent report.

Reuters reports that Vatican officials on Friday planned to release principles promoting the ethical use of artificial intelligence with the backing of Mircosoft and IBM as the first two technology industry sponsors. The “Rome Call for AI Ethics” states that technology should respect privacy, work reliably and without bias, consider “the needs of all human beings” and operate transparently.

The document is representative of the growing interest among companies and organizations to set widely accepted guidelines for the increasingly growing technology of artificial intelligence. Police have used facial recognition systems to investigate crimes and companies have begun using AI to review job applications, both of which are examples of when AI bias could cause harm.

The new initiative from the Vatican reportedly came from the growing concerns of Pope Francis about AI and how it may affect society.  John Kelly III, executive vice president of IBM and one of the signatories of the document, stated: “His major concerns were, will it be available to everyone, or is it going to further bifurcate the haves and the have-not’s?”

Pope Francis was set to receive the document on Friday to conclude a conference that the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life hosted this week on AI ethics. Other individuals at the conference include European Parliament’s President David Sassoli and Microsoft’s President Brad Smith.

Kelly stated that approximately a third of ethics questions IBM typically faces have no obvious answer. “Going forward we’re going to see more falling in that category, only because the technology is advancing so fast,” he said.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or email him at


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