The Coronavirus theme has been taking over blogs and the press, at all levels: the topic is naturally and obviously urgent and essential, but there are also other things going on and above all, a future. So we decided to give ourselves a ‘break’, and broaden our gaze and content to other issues as well. At least for the moment.
Not only is it possible, but it is the right thing to do to think of an ethical use of technology, even more so when it enters the sphere of competence of the human being in an overwhelming way. Last February 28th, the Pontifical Academy for Life, IBM, Microsoft, FAO and the Italian Government signed the Call for an AI Ethics, a document created to support an ethical approach to Artificial Intelligence and to promote among organisations, governments and institutions a sense of responsibility shared with the aim of guaranteeing a future in which digital innovation and technological progress are at the service of human genius and creativity and not their gradual replacement.
A laudable and interesting goal, which we hope will give an answer to the fears for a future that we all see as more and more automated and robotic: what could represent an opportunity for improvement in work and production efficiency, by some it is in fact perceived as a risk of job losses, but above all of uniqueness and of human values.
The Call has developed a series of ‘recommendations’ for the use of Artificial Intelligence according to the principles of good innovation:
- Transparency: in principle the AI systems must be easy to understand;
- Inclusion: the needs of all human beings must be taken into account so that everyone can benefit and that all individuals can be offered the best possible conditions to express themselves and to develop;
- Responsibility: those who design and implement AI solutions must proceed with responsibility and transparency;
- Impartiality: do not create or act according to prejudice, thus safeguarding human equity and dignity;
- Reliability: Artificial Intelligence systems must be able to function reliably;
- Security and privacy: Artificial Intelligence systems must function safely and respect user privacy.
After the signature, Msgr. Vincenzo Paglia read the addressed to the participants by Pope Francis: “The intent of the Call is to create a movement that expands and involves other subjects: public institutions, NGOs, industries and groups to produce a direction in the development and use of technologies derived from AI. From this point of view, we can say that the first signature of this call is not an end point, but a beginning for a commitment that appears even more urgent and important than what has been done so far. The text of the Call is also characterised by being a first attempt to formulate a set of ethical criteria with common references of value, offering a contribution to the development of a common language to interpret what is human”.