Pope calls for ban on ‘lethal autonomous weapons’ at G7

Pope Francis spoke about the moral quandaries surrounding artificial intelligence in warfare, saying ‘no machine should ever choose to take the life of a human being’.

Pope Francis takes part in a working session on AI at the Borgo Egnazia resort during the G7 summit on Friday [Ludovic Marin/AFP]Published On 14 Jun 202414 Jun 2024

Pope Francis called for a ban on “lethal autonomous weapons” in an address to the G7 leaders’ summit in Italy on the perils of artificial intelligence (AI).

On Friday, the pontiff was the first head of the Roman Catholic Church to ever attend a Group of Seven meeting.

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“In light of the tragedy that is armed conflict, it is urgent to reconsider the development and use of devices like the so-called ‘lethal autonomous weapons’ and ultimately ban their use,” the pope said.

“This starts from an effective and concrete commitment to introduce ever greater and proper human control. No machine should ever choose to take the life of a human being.”

The G7 – which brings together Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States – said on Friday that AI “can play a crucial role in promoting progress and development in our societies”.

“We recognise the impact of AI on the military domain and the need for a framework for responsible development and use,” the leaders said in a draft statement.

Pope Francis, 87, who has suffered from mobility issues in recent years, arrived in Puglia by helicopter and was welcomed by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

He told the leaders gathered in the southern Italian region, “Artificial intelligence [is] at the same time an exciting and fearsome tool. We would condemn humanity to a future without hope if we took away people’s ability to make decisions about themselves and their lives, by dooming them to depend on the choices of machines.”

The Argentinian pontiff was speaking after a series of bilateral meetings with leaders including Ukraine’s President Volodymr Zelenskyy, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

In a statement on his social media platforms, Zelenskyy said he and Pope Francis talked about the upcoming summit on Ukraine on Saturday and Sunday.

“We discussed the consequences of Russian aggression against Ukraine, Russian air terror and the difficult situation in the energy sector … and expectations from the Global Peace Summit,” Zelenskyy said.

Source: News Agencies