Let’s Tame The Beast, Catholic Bishops Warn Against AI

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), has warned against the dangers of Artificial Intelligence (AI), calling for caution and responsible use of the technology.

The warning is coming at a time with the Pope’s expected participation in the G7 summit, where insiders suggest he would advocate an ethical framework for AI development.

The Bishops voiced their concerns during the maiden Communication Week Public Lecture of the Catholic Church held in Abuja yesterday, with the theme, ”Artificial Intelligence and Wisdom of the Heart: for a fully human communication.”

CBCN President, Most Rev. Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, emphasized the need for ethical considerations in AI development and deployment.

Archbishop Ugorji underscored the benefits of AI, stating:  “AI has permeated various facets of life… Today, computers can perform tasks traditionally requiring human intelligence, such as understanding natural language, recognizing patterns, learning from data, and making decisions.

“Despite the enormous benefits, the development and deployment of AI digital technology must be approached with ethical rigour.”

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He stressed the church’s commitment to addressing the ethical concerns surrounding AI.

“We wish to create awareness of the revolutionary positive impact on humanity and society by AI, while raising the ethical concerns that arise from its abuse,” he said.

Archbishop Ugorji stated that guided by Vatican II Decree on the Means of Social Communication, Inter Mirifica no. 2, the church recognized its responsibility to educate the faithful on the positive and negative influences of the media.

Consequently, the CBCN President, who stressed the need for balance, said further:  “We must strive for a balance that prioritizes human welfare alongside technological progress, mindful of the ethical and moral dilemmas, as well as risks such as job displacement, threat to peace in the world, spread of falsehood through propaganda, manipulation of the human person, and privacy concerns through advanced hacking and deepfakes.”

Earlier in his remarks, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Archbishop Emeritus of Abuja, commended Pope Francis for his courageous stance on Artificial Intelligence.

He noted that the Pope’s warnings on AI dangers, which had been consistent, had resonated beyond church circles, reaching the highest levels of the international community.

Africa Today News, New York

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