Aug 08, 2022
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The Vatican joined forces with tech giants IBM and Microsoft in February to promote the “ethical” development of artificial intelligence (AI). The Vatican also called for regulating intrusive technologies including facial recognition reports Reuters.

All three said that artificial intelligence shall respect privacy, operate reliably and without bias. They added that it should also take into account human rights and be transparent.

Pope Francis threw his support behind the development of AI during a speech that was read on his behalf at a conference that was attended by Microsoft president Brad Smith and IBM Executive Vice President John Kelly. At that time, the pope was sick and was unable to deliver the speech himself.

The joint document specifically referenced the potential abuse that can occur with facial recognition technology.

“New forms of regulation must be encouraged to promote transparency and compliance with ethical principles, especially for advanced technologies that have a higher risk of impacting human rights, such as facial recognition,” the document stated.

It wasn’t immediately clear if other tech companies would also sign the document, or how its principles would be implemented.

IBM wants a doctor to be updated when its AI technology makes healthcare recommendations. Reuters adds that this may be implemented in a deal that was made with the Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital in Rome which is owned by the Vatican.

The partnership will focus on developing technology to expedite diagnosis and treatment of brain tumor patients.

Both IBM and Microsoft mentioned that they rejected business offers when they felt uncomfortable with how a customer sought to use their technology.

The Rome conference was the latest example of the Vatican attempting to act as a sort of partner in leading  technology as well as social issues so that they can influence the pioneers of the future, regardless of their religion.