Pope Francis told the Pontifical Academy for Life yesterday that it faces an enormous task in evaluating the ethics of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and human enhancement. Source: National Catholic Register.
The Pope asked the academy to “ensure that scientific and technological growth is reconciled more and more with a parallel development … in responsibility, values and conscience.”
The rapid acceleration of new technologies can produce significant consequences for human life and the environment “that are not always clear and predictable,” Francis said.
“It is paradoxical, for example, referring to technologies for enhancing the biological functions of a subject, to speak of an ‘augmented’ man, if one forgets that the human body refers back to the integral good of the person and therefore cannot be identified with the biological organism alone. A wrong approach in this field actually ends up not ‘augmenting’ but ‘compressing’ man,” he said.
The Pontifical Academy for Life is meeting in Rome this week for its 28th General Assembly.
In addition, the academy is hosting a free online webinar on “Emerging Technologies and the Common Good,” with speakers scheduled to discuss technological convergence in nanotechnology, biotechnology and the cognitive sciences.
“Over these days you will reflect on the relationship between the person, emerging technologies and the common good: It is a delicate frontier, at which progress, ethics and society meet, and where faith, in its perennial relevance, can make a valuable contribution,” Pope Francis said.
“In this sense, the Church never ceases to encourage the progress of science and technology at the service of the dignity of the person and integral human development.”
In his speech to the academy, Pope Francis also warned that “technology cannot replace human contact.” He said that it is a “bad temptation” to make “the virtual prevail over the real”.
Pope Francis Asks Pontifical Academy for Life to Study Ethics of Emerging Technologies (By Courtney Mares, CNA via National Catholic Register)
Pope: Technology must be at the service of humanity (Vatican News)