Life academy promotes ethical ways AI can with help food security

| Carol Glatz | September 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, is pictured in a file photo during an interview in his office at the Vatican. CNS photo/Paul Haring

As part of its ongoing collaboration with two of the world’s leading developers of AI software, the Pontifical Academy for Life will launch a new joint project looking at ethical ways artificial intelligence can be used to guarantee food security.

The academy, together with the heads of Microsoft, IBM and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, were to unveil details about the project at an online event Sept. 24.

The goals of the event include presenting concrete solutions to the agri-food business with the ethical use of AI and looking at the “post COVID-19 route” to take, the academy said in a press release Sept. 15.

“Concrete experiences of using artificial intelligence to ethically address global environmental challenges will be presented,” it said.

Titled, “AI, Food for All: Dialogue and Experiences,” the conference was a follow-up to a Feb. 28 event held at the Vatican that included the signing of a “Call for AI Ethics” by the leaders of the papal academy, Microsoft, IBM, the FAO and a representative of the Italian government.

The charter calls for ethical principles and guidelines to be used in the field of artificial intelligence so that products that are developed, sold and used actually promote the good of all humanity.

The appeal was open to all stakeholders — such as government bodies, NGOs, industry leaders and associations — to become part of a cooperative effort in establishing clear ethical choices, legal standards and appropriate educational efforts when it comes to digital development and innovation.

The academy said the Sept. 24 event would showcase their joint project on the “exemplary use of AI in the food value chain.”

“The global partnership between the Rome Call signatories,” it said, “is focused on an ethical approach to provide concrete and ethically-founded solutions to the agri-food sector, in a context marked by COVID-19 that can seriously affect food security and nutrition.”

Those scheduled to take part in the event include: Brad Smith, president of Microsoft; John Kelly III, executive vice president of IBM; Qu Dongyu, director-general of the FAO; and Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

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