Pope Francis to address AI challenges at G7 summit

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni announced on Friday that Pope Francis will be attending this year’s Group of Seven (G7) leaders’ summit to address the challenges presented by Artificial Intelligence (AI). Pope Francis has previously cautioned against the “perverse” risks associated with AI and emphasized the need for global regulations to steer its use towards the common good. The G7 gathering, scheduled for June 13-15 in the southern Italian region of Puglia, will bring together leaders from the United States, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Canada, Japan, and a select group of invited guests.

“This marks the first instance in history where a pontiff will participate in the proceedings of a G7 summit,” Meloni stated in a video message. She highlighted that Pope Francis will participate in a dedicated session focused on AI, recognizing it as one of the “most significant anthropological challenges of our era.”

“I firmly believe that the presence of His Holiness will be instrumental in formulating an ethical and cultural framework for the regulation of Artificial Intelligence,” Meloni affirmed. Italy, currently holding the G7 rotating chair, recently passed a bill aimed at establishing guidelines for AI usage, allocating investment in the sector, and imposing penalties for AI-related offenses.

“AI presents immense opportunities, yet it also carries substantial risks and inevitably impacts global dynamics,” Meloni remarked, underscoring the necessity for AI to prioritize human welfare and remain under human supervision.

In January, Pope Francis expressed both concerns and aspirations regarding AI. While urging people to set aside catastrophic predictions, he predominantly emphasized the hazards, warning against “cognitive pollution” that distorts reality, propagates falsehoods, and confines individuals within ideological bubbles. A month earlier, he advocated for an internationally binding treaty to regulate AI, emphasizing the importance of preventing algorithms from supplanting human values and cautioning against the looming threat of a “technological dictatorship” imperiling humanity’s existence.