IBM, Vatican and Microsoft Team Up On AI, Facial Tech Regulation

IBM, Vatican and Microsoft Team Up On AI, Facial Tech Regulation

Microsoft and IBM have teamed up with the Vatican to call for ethical and responsible use and regulation of artificial intelligence (AI) and facial recognition technology, according to a report by Reuters.

Together, the trio said such technology should respect people’s privacy, function without bias, operate efficiently and transparently and take into consideration human rights.

Pope Francis, who has spoken about the implications of untethered AI technology in the past, was ill and could not attend a tech conference on Friday (Feb. 28) with Microsoft President Brad Smith and IBM Executive VP John Kelly. However, a speech was read on his behalf.

The pope wants the development of an ethical framework for algorithms, called “algor-ethics,” and he said that people should be wary of how AI can be used to obtain information for commercial or political use without the consent of the people involved.

“This asymmetry, by which a select few know everything about us while we know nothing about them, dulls critical thought and the conscious exercise of freedom,” he said. “Inequalities expand enormously; knowledge and wealth accumulate in a few hands with grave risks for democratic societies.” 

The speech also referenced how facial recognition technology could be easily abused.

“New forms of regulation must be encouraged to promote transparency and compliance with ethical principles, especially for advanced technologies that have a higher risk of impacting human rights, such as facial recognition,” the speech said.

Facial recognition technology has been used by law enforcement to investigate crimes, and some highly successful companies have used it in the selecting of potential job candidates.

It’s not clear how corporations would sign on to be a part of the proposed movement.

IBM said it wants a doctor to be involved in AI tech health recommendations, and that suggestion could potentially be implemented at the Vatican-owned Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital in Rome.


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