Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation

Getting Prepared for What’s Coming with AI

Butembo 20.12.2023 Jpic-jp.org Translated by: Jpic-jp.org

“Artificial intelligence is suddenly everywhere. It seems as though no conversation about jobs, education, health care, technology, or politics happens without an inevitable question about how AI could disrupt it all,” (Ravi Agrawal).

“This surge in public interest can feel surprising. After all, the concept of AI - the intelligence derived from machines sifting through data - isn’t particularly new. But when the AI-powered ChatGPT launched last November, it was a global a-ha moment. The chatbot captured the world’s attention precisely because it mimicked conversation with an all-knowing human friend. Now we could see what AI was capable of. It could pass a bar exam and ace the SATs (Scholastic Assessment Test) and do the kinds of things generations of humans have spent countless hours slaving over. Advances in computing had finally caught up with science fiction; the possibilities of AI’s applications in a range of industries emerged into view,” wrote recently Ravi Agrawal in the Foreign Policy.

Nevertheless, reminds us Pope Francis in his 2024 World Day of Peace Message, “We need to remember that scientific research and technological innovations are not disembodied and ‘neutral’, but subject to cultural influences. As fully human activities, the directions they take reflect choices conditioned by personal, social and cultural values in any given age. The same must be said of the results they produce: precisely as the fruit of specifically human ways of approaching the world around us, the latter always have an ethical dimension, closely linked to decisions made by those who design their experimentation and direct their production towards particular objectives.”

A concern also shared by scientists: “At the same time, the pace of AI development is unsettling technologists, citizens, and regulators alike. Even ardent techno-enthusiasts -including figures such as OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak - are issuing warnings about how unregulated AI can lead to uncontrollable harms, posing severe threats to individuals and societies. The direst predictions concern AI’s ability to obliterate labour markets and make humans obsolete or - under the most extreme scenario -even destroy humanity”, wrote Anu Bradford in June 27, 2023.  

It is worth remembering, notes the Pope in his message that “To date, there is no single definition of artificial intelligence in the world of science and technology. The term itself, which by now has entered into everyday parlance, embraces a variety of sciences, theories and techniques aimed at making machines reproduce or imitate in their functioning the cognitive abilities of human beings. To speak in the plural of ‘forms of intelligence’ can help to emphasize above all the unbridgeable gap between such systems, however amazing and powerful, and the human person: in the end, they are merely ‘fragmentary’, in the sense that they can only imitate or reproduce certain functions of human intelligence. The use of the plural likewise brings out the fact that these devices greatly differ among themselves and that they should always be regarded as ‘socio-technical systems’. For the impact of any artificial intelligence device – regardless of its underlying technology – depends not only on its technical design, but also on the aims and interests of its owners and developers, and on the situations in which it will be employed.”

For instance, “The areas concerning AI – remarks Ravi Agrawal - that have so far generated relatively less ‘public attention’ - relative to, say, jobs - are the ones intersecting with foreign policy. But that’s going to change. Cutting-edge AI requires vast amounts of computing power, which involves the most advanced semiconductors. And only a handful of companies and countries have a lock on that market. […]. Semiconductors are already shaping wars, cyberattacks, alliances, and more. One of the main areas of disagreement between the United States and China - the independence of a small string of islands with a population of 23 million - is intractable in part because Taiwan is responsible for nearly 90 percent of the world’s high-end chips”.

Insofar, “As AI Spreads, Experts Predict the Best and Worst Changes in Digital Life by 2035

They have deep concerns about people’s and society’s overall well-being. But they also expect great benefits in health care, scientific advances and education,” predict Janna Anderson and Lee Rainie.

And yet “AI’s Gatekeepers Aren’t Prepared for What’s Coming. What was once a diffuse technology is now increasingly controlled by a handful of tech companies. Governments need to catch up” (See Paul Scharre June 19, 2023). “New technologies can change the global balance of power. Nuclear weapons divided the world into haves and have-nots. The Industrial Revolution allowed Europe to race ahead in economic and military power, spurring a wave of colonial expansion. A central question in the artificial intelligence revolution is who will benefit: Who will be able to access this powerful new technology, and who will be left behind? Until recently, AI has been a diffuse technology that rapidly proliferates. Open-source AI models are readily available online. The recent shift to large models, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, is concentrating power in the hands of large tech companies that can afford the computing hardware needed to train these systems. The balance of global AI power will hinge on whether AI concentrates power in the hands of a few actors, as nuclear weapons did, or proliferates widely, as smartphones have.”

Therefore, says the Pope in his Message, “Artificial intelligence ought to be understood as a galaxy of different realities. We cannot presume a priori that its development will make a beneficial contribution to the future of humanity and to peace among peoples. That positive outcome will only be achieved if we show ourselves capable of acting responsibly and respect such fundamental human values as inclusion, transparency, security, equity, privacy and reliability. Nor is it sufficient simply to presume a commitment on the part of those who design algorithms and digital technologies to act ethically and responsibly. There is a need to strengthen or, if necessary, to establish bodies charged with examining the ethical issues arising in this field and protecting the rights of those who employ forms of artificial intelligence or are affected by them.

“The immense expansion of technology thus needs to be accompanied by an appropriate formation in responsibility for its future development. Freedom and peaceful coexistence are threatened whenever human beings yield to the temptation to selfishness, self-interest, the desire for profit and the thirst for power. We thus have a duty to broaden our gaze and to direct techno-scientific research towards the pursuit of peace and the common good, in the service of the integral development of individuals and communities. The inherent dignity of each human being and the fraternity that binds us together as members of the one human family must undergird the development of new technologies and serve as indisputable criteria for evaluating them before they are employed, so that digital progress can occur with due respect for justice and contribute to the cause of peace. Technological developments that do not lead to an improvement in the quality of life of all humanity, but on the contrary aggravate inequalities and conflicts, can never count as true progress. Artificial intelligence will become increasingly important. The challenges it poses are technical, but also anthropological, educational, social and political. It promises, for instance, liberation from drudgery, more efficient manufacturing, easier transport and more ready markets, as well as a revolution in processes of accumulating, organizing and confirming data. We need to be aware of the rapid transformations now taking place and to manage them in ways that safeguard fundamental human rights and respect the institutions and laws that promote integral human development. Artificial intelligence ought to serve our best human potential and our highest aspirations, not compete with them.”

This is why, Pope Francis ends his 2024 Message for the World Day of Peace, praying at the start of the New Year that “the rapid development of forms of artificial intelligence will not increase cases of inequality and injustice all too present in today’s world, but will help put an end to wars and conflicts, and alleviate many forms of suffering that afflict our human family.” More over he wishes that “Christian believers, followers of various religions and men and women of good will work together in harmony to embrace the opportunities and confront the challenges posed by the digital revolution and thus hand on to future generations a world of greater solidarity, justice and peace.”

See, Pope Francis’ Message for the 57th World Day of Peace - 1 January 2024 - Artificial Intelligence and Peace

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