A High Profile Religious Leader: AI? Yeah, Well, Maybe Not So Fast, Folks

December 22, 2023

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

The trusted news outfit Thomson Reuters put out a story about the thoughts of the Pope, the leader of millions of Catholics. Presumably many of these people use ChatGPT-type systems to create content. (I wonder if Leonardo would have used an OpenAI system to crank out some art work. He was an innovator. My hunch is that he would have given MidJourney-type smart software a whirl.)


A group of religious individuals thinking about artificial intelligence. Thanks, MidJourney, a good enough engraving.

Pope Francis Calls for Binding Global Treaty to Regulate AI” reports that Pope Francis wants someone to create a legally binding international treaty. The idea is that AI numerical recipes would be prevented from replacing humans with good old human values. The idea is that AI would output answers, and humans would use those answers to find pizza joints, develop smart weapons, and eliminate carbon by eliminating carbon generating entities (maybe humans?).

The trusted news outfit’s report included this quote from the Pope:

I urge the global community of nations to work together in order to adopt a binding international treaty that regulates the development and use of artificial intelligence in its many forms…

The Pope mentioned a need to avoid a technological dictatorship. He added:

Research on emerging technologies in the area of so-called Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems, including the weaponization of artificial intelligence, is a cause for grave ethical concern. Autonomous weapon systems can never be morally responsible subjects…

Several observations are warranted:

  1. Is this a UN job or is some other entity responsible to obtain consensus and effective enforcement?
  2. Who develops the criteria for “good” AI, “neutral” AI, and “bad” AI?
  3. What are the penalties for implementing “bad” AI?

For me the Pope’s statement is important. It may be difficult to implement without a global dictatorship or a sudden change in how informed people debate and respond to difficult issues. From my point of view, the Pope should worry. When I look at the images of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the riders remind of four high profile leaders in AI. That’s my imagination reading into the depictions of conquest, war, famine, and death.

Stephen E Arnold, December 22, 2023


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