Pope Francis is first pope to address G7 summit, meets with Biden, world leaders

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Pope Francis, the first pope to attend a G7 summit, urged the leaders of the world’s wealthy democracies Friday to keep human dignity foremost in developing and using artificial intelligence, warning that the technology risks turning human relations into mere algorithms. 

Pope Francis speaks with President Biden as Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (rear) looks on, on sidelines of a working session on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Energy, Africa-Mediterranean during the G7 Summit in Savelletri near Bari, Italy, on June 14, 2024.

LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images

Francis was invited by Italy’s prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, the host of the summit, to address a special session on the perils and promises of AI. He offered an ethical take on an issue that is increasingly on the agenda of international, governmental and corporate board summits. 

The pope said politicians must take the lead in making sure AI remains human-centric, so decisions about when to use weapons — or even tools that are less lethal — always remain made by humans and not machines. 

“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,” he said. “We need to ensure and safeguard a space for proper human control over the choices made by artificial intelligence programs: Human dignity itself depends on it.” 

The spread of AI and migration were two of the major topics discussed by world leaders at the summit. After the session, the pope, in a wheelchair and white robes, met separately with the G7 leaders and was greeted with a round of applause, and he spoke with them for about 25 minutes.  

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