Pope Francis asks Pontifical Academy for Life to study ethics of emerging technologies

Pope Francis told the Pontifical Academy for Life on Monday that it faces an enormous task in evaluating the ethics of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and human enhancement.

The pope asked the academy on Feb. 20 to “ensure that scientific and technological growth is reconciled more and more with a parallel development … in responsibility, values, and conscience.”

The rapid acceleration of new technologies can produce significant consequences for human life and the environment “that are not always clear and predictable,” Francis said.

“It is paradoxical, for example, referring to technologies for enhancing the biological functions of a subject, to speak of an ‘augmented’ man if one forgets that the human body refers back to the integral good of the person and therefore cannot be identified with the biological organism alone. A wrong approach in this field actually ends up not ‘augmenting’ but ‘compressing’ man,” he said.

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