Tech leaders discuss AI and well-being at Vatican conference

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) – “Why do we need AGI?” asked Kevin Rowan, chief information security officer of Google's parent company Alphabet. Regarding artificial general intelligence – AI systems that can match or exceed human intelligence in various situations.

Speaking at a conference on human flourishing and technology at the headquarters of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on May 23, Rowan said that determining AGI's purpose and service to humanity is “a broader conversation that we have had.” It has never been done globally.”

Scholars, tech experts, and business leaders gathered at the Vatican for a two-day conference to discuss how to integrate emerging technologies and advance the good of humanity.

Father Philip Leary, professor of philosophy at Boston College and chairman of Humanity 2.0, a nonprofit organization working to connect technology and human development, is seen in this March 2023 file photo at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. Are coming. (CNS Photo/Robert Duncan)

OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, defines AGI as “highly autonomous systems that outperform humans in the most economically valuable tasks,” and the company is developing it alongside Meta, Facebook's parent company. , has become a central target for Google and others.

“It's almost like some people think it's the right goal because we need it in the short term, so we should pursue it,” Rowan said. “But should we (create) something that's more intelligent than us when society isn't ready, that's another kind of question.”

The development of AGI requires huge financial investment, “and in alignment, in ethics, there is not an equal size of investment and funding in human flourishing,” he noted. “We want to balance the equation before racing into AGI.”

As the development of artificially intelligent technology progresses, “the framework for evaluating whether AI is being used properly is human flourishing,” says Father Philip Leary, at Boston College. said the philosophy professor and chairman of Humanity 2.0, a nonprofit. Working to integrate technology and human development.

Father Larry cited a Goldman Sachs report that estimated that in the long term artificial intelligence could replace 300 million full-time jobs. Just because humanity can develop these tools at a rapid pace doesn't mean they have to without finding a suitable solution for humanity to adapt to them, he said. AI should be given more autonomy because they are good at the jobs we want them to complete.

Denise Sanover, an economist and president of the Global Solutions Initiative, told Catholic News Service that today “artificial intelligence is largely driven by business interests that focus on profit and shareholder value, and that both thrive. are not adequately aligned with our needs individually and socially.”

He said that tech developers as well as business and government leaders “need to realign our profit motive with our social and environmental needs,” and that faith is “an important tool we need to achieve this broader perspective.” will enable.”

“Now that we're dealing with all these global problems, we need to see ourselves as part of a common humanity when solving these problems, among other things, and great beliefs,” Sanover said. It is an important step in this direction.”

Ketan Patel, CEO of Greater Pacific Capital and chair of the Force for Good Initiative, told CNS that there is a shift in investing toward human development and that religious leaders should be involved in leading this movement because they has a “transcendent perspective. of commerce.”

James Pawlski, director of education at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Positive Psychology, told the conference that “connecting culture with physical and mental health” as well as fostering social connections and fostering spirituality is key to advancing human development. The role of culture needs to be identified.

“Art, culture (and) relationships can take us beyond ourselves,” said Elizabeth Kincaid, director of the Center for Ethics and Economic Justice at Loyola University New Orleans, but that “artificial intelligence will never be beyond us.” Can't take over.”

The Catholic tradition is full of hope, he said, but it's also laced with a sense of “bitterness,” or the sense that human life is not living up to what it's meant to be, which is why “with A.I. Human flourishing in relationships, which can promise us a utopia, requires always being aware of both the beauty and the pain we all experience.

Experts said it remains to be seen whether AI systems can match the wealth of human experience, but a big question is whether the technology will have humanity's best interests in mind when its intelligence is used. will surpass those who created it.

“The potential for good, the ability to solve humanity's greatest problems, is unprecedented, unprecedented and profound,” said Janet Adams, chief operating officer of SingularityNet, a central marketplace for AI algorithms. “The question is who will develop this AGI and with what values?”

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Copyright © 2024 Catholic News Service/US Conference of Catholic Bishops

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