back to article Damn, even the Pope thinks AI and autonomous weapons need reining in

Pope Francis urged world leaders to establish an international treaty regulating AI, and warned against relying on machines to make moral and ethical decisions that should be left to humans. In a message ahead of annual World Peace Day – which is celebrated by Catholics on New Year's Day – His Holiness addressed the rise of AI …

  1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    the world has no need of new technologies that contribute to the unjust development of commerce and the weapons trade and consequently end up promoting the folly of war.

    s/new technologies/religions/

    FTFY

    1. Kurgan Silver badge
    2. Jedit Silver badge
      Boffin

      "s/new technologies/religions/"

      I don't know that that's a fix as much as a clarification. Crypto, Tesla, the OS wars - technologies are the new religions in many ways.

  2. jmch Silver badge
    Pint

    Nobody expects the Spanish AI domination!!

    >>> Cheers for the subhead!! >>>

  3. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Stick to what you know

    > Pope Francis urged world leaders to establish an international treaty regulating AI

    And I wonder what ChatGPT's thoughts are on who should talk to god?

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Stick to what you know

      And I wonder what ChatGPT's thoughts are on who should talk to god?

      The Cabots?

      1. prandeamus

        Re: Stick to what you know

        Niche... but appreciated.

      2. Pete Sdev Bronze badge
        Pint

        Re: Stick to what you know

        Nice. Had to look that reference up.

  4. Ball boy Silver badge

    I'm athiest for a reason!

    "That positive outcome will only be achieved if we show ourselves capable of acting responsibly and respect such fundamental human values as 'inclusion, transparency, security, equity, privacy and reliability'."

    And how's that worked out for various religions over the years then, your Holiness? There's a pot over here that wants a word with your kettle!

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: I'm athiest for a reason!

      Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius

  5. Mark White
    Joke

    I'd think he would be more worried about it usurping his boss!

    1. Andy Non Silver badge
      Coat

      Maybe his boss is an AI from the future... otherwise, where would all the calculators go when they die?

  6. HuBo
    Pint

    Allez Loulou!

    Cognac may be flooded today ( https://www.ville-cognac.fr/Point-inondation.html ) but it's great to see the Pope effusing his strong pontificating spirit at untowardly AI heresies in this Spanish admonition that nobody expects! (superbly written article!)

  7. Howard Sway Silver badge

    warned against relying on machines to make moral and ethical decisions that should be left to humans

    To be fair, they'lll probably be trained on a wider and better variety of source material than the average priest or cardinal is, and the humans controlling them will be less inclined to move them to new locations where they can carry on being bad when they misbehave terribly.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: warned against relying on machines to make moral and ethical decisions

      No we trained the Kill-o-Matic drone on the message of the old testament.

      It now only targets Egyptians, Cananites, Amelekites, first borns and anyone without an ark

      1. cookieMonster Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: warned against relying on machines to make moral and ethical decisions

        Wow, I’ve dodged that one, got my arc delivered yesterday.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: warned against relying on machines to make moral and ethical decisions

          Remember to not look back when leaving Basingstoke or it's pillar of salt time

  8. nijam Silver badge

    > ... even the Pope thinks AI and autonomous weapons need reining in.

    Only because has not got any of his own yet.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      The St Michael Heavenly Avenger - with multiple independently targeted thuribles can reduce heritics to dust within 3 hail Marys

  9. simonb_london

    The only one's really worried about AI are the ones with the most to lose if a high intelligence can suss them out.

  10. TheMaskedMan Silver badge

    He's just worried that someone will ring up a custom GPT that's trained on the bible and a few religious / ethical texts. Get that working and he's right out of a job, isn't he?

    Hmmm, that might be a fun experiment...

    1. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

      Bless you, my son/daughter.

  11. Starace
    Devil

    Hmm

    Given his history I'd suspect any comments from this pope are driven at least as much by his politics as by any theology. Which is good to a point, though South American socialism hardly has a glorious history behind it any more than the Church does.

    As for the whole 'military development of autonomous weapons' thing... I've seen some of the efforts in this area and had the whole moral discussion. Ultimately even though people thing it's somehow different than old stuff it really isn't.

    If I place a mine or a tripwire, I've left something that independently triggers to take lethal action - already potentially (eg an antiship mine) with a load of inbuilt processing to classify a target before deciding to kill it.

    Or if I send off a drone to detect/target/kill, even if the mechanism isn't the same it's still an analogue of releasing a guided missile or activating an automated air defense; the human decision is deciding to activate/release the thing, and what happens after that is just the mechanics of it whether it's a simple heat tracker or a clever algorithm. Morally you've still built something with a degree of accuracy & lethality and you've sent it off, and using a particular flavour of AI (as opposed to all the signal processing and logic that already was used) really makes zero difference.

    A weapon is a weapon and any degree of AI makes no odds as someone still decides to create and deploy the thing, and we've already had autonomous guided systems for decades without a human making every lethal decision. We already crossed that bridge.

    Hand waving over AI is just a moral panic when the underlying morals haven't actually changed at all.

    1. HuBo
      Terminator

      Re: Hmm

      Hmmmm (indeed) ... we do regulate Cruise's killer robotaxis, and Tesla's killer autopilot (IIRC), and those killer factory robots that take us for vegetables and crush us to death ... we should probably get ready to regulate Boston Dynamics' cute little LLM-tethered museum tour guide killer robot dog as well I think (before it "accidentally" mauls small children on a school field trip for example). Granted that none of those devices were explicitly stated to have been designed to end human lives, but if those are regulated it makes sense (to me) that the more deadly ones should be as well.

      To wit, in June of last year, this happened: "The United States [joined] the vast majority of countries around the world in committing to limit the use of anti-personnel landmines (APL)" ( https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/06/21/fact-sheet-changes-to-u-s-anti-personnel-landmine-policy/ ), which is very sensible.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Hmm

      >South American socialism hardly has a glorious history

      Although probably better than the last wearer of the big hat, and his more Teutonic National version

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pope Francis urged world leaders to establish an international treaty regulating AI...

    ... and warned against relying on machines to make moral and ethical decisions that should be left to humans.

    Uh huh. Sure. Because the church has sooo much to say regarding "moral and ethical decisions", amirite?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_sexual_abuse_cases

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_theology_of_sexuality#Contraception

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordination_of_women_and_the_Catholic_Church#2008_excommunication_order

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Dimmer Silver badge

    “ At that moment, two philosophers—Majikthise and Vroomfondel—break into the room and demand that the question be left to them. The Quest for Ultimate Truth is legally the right of working thinkers. Let Deep Thought answer the question and they will be right out of a job. They go so far as to threaten a national Philosophers' strike.”

  14. Snowy Silver badge
    Coat

    International law

    Pope Francis urged world leaders to establish an international treaty regulating AI, and warned against relying on machines to make moral and ethical decisions that should be left to humans.

    No one will every break an international treaty, we are saved!

    I can not think of an international treaty someone has not bent or broken.

    If we want international treaties to stand then they need someone with teeth to uphold it, No the UN does not count it has about as much teeth and about as much authority as a new born baby.

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