Europe’s bishops call for restrictions on tech

A robot performs for visitors at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, in 2019 (CNS/Rafael Marchante, Reuters)

A commission representing the European Union’s Catholic bishops has called on EU institutions to follow a “human-centric approach” on artificial intelligence. Source: The Tablet.

“AI is a strategic technology that offers many benefits for citizens and the economy – it will change our lives by improving healthcare, increasing the efficiency of farming, contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation and improving the efficiency of production systems”, the COMECE report said. COMECE, a Brussels-based commission, represents the EU’s Catholic bishops.

“At the same time, AI entails a number of potential risks, such as gender-based or other kinds of discrimination, opaque decision-making or intrusion into our private lives ... AI should work for people and be a force for good in society,” the report said.

The report, published as part of an EU consultation, said the Catholic Church welcomed attempts to establish a “solid European approach” to AI, which would be “deeply grounded on human dignity and protection of privacy”, and cover child safety, data protection, cyber-security and money-laundering.

It added that, while that data and algorithms were “main drivers of artificial intelligence”, human beings remained responsible for “determining and overviewing” its goals, which should be coordinated at EU level rather than left to national governments.

“AI has to serve the lives of all human beings – human life has not only a personal dimension but also a community dimension”, the COMECE report said.

“The Christian perspective sees the human person as qualitatively different from other beings, with a transcendental dignity, intelligent and free, and therefore capable of moral acts. AI systems are not free in the sense the human person is and, in this sense, their actions cannot be judged according to the same moral criteria.”


Church body recommends restrictions on artificial intelligence (By Jonathan Luxmoore, The Tablet)  

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