Senior Church Leader in Fiji Raises Concerns Over Potential Risks of Artificial Intelligence

In his New Year’s Message, Archbishop Peter Loy Chong of the Catholic Church in Fiji urged the Fijian people to stay aware of the potential negative impacts of artificial intelligence. He emphasized the importance of human dignity and peace for all individuals.

The year 2023 marked a significant milestone as artificial intelligence became a mainstream technology. While it has been anticipated for a long time, there is still a considerable journey ahead for this technology to reach the level of the science fiction-inspired vision of machines with human-like capabilities.

The emergence of ChatGPT marked a significant moment in A.I. development, captivating global attention. This chatbot showcased the latest strides in computer science, although its workings and practical applications remained unclear to many.

At the core of technologies like ChatGPT are advanced A.I. large language models. These models function by predicting subsequent words in sentences, having been trained on a vast collection of human-authored texts. While they sometimes present inaccuracies, the models generate remarkably human-like outputs. This has fueled interest in future A.I. innovations and raised concerns about their potential for misuse in creating convincing deceptions.

Archbishop Chong emphasized the importance of families creating rules in their homes to foster human interaction.

He warned that becoming passive users of artificial intelligence could diminish the creativity God instilled in humans, which he views as detrimental to humanity.

Chong highlighted Pope Francis’s advice on the necessity of educating children on the responsible use of artificial intelligence in digital and social media realms.

In December, Pope Francis advocated for a global agreement to guarantee artificial intelligence’s ethical development and application. He stressed the dangers of technology devoid of human compassion, mercy, morality, and forgiveness.

While recognizing the potential benefits of AI, Francis also commended technological progress as a reflection of the human intellect’s creativity. This mirrors the stance presented by the Vatican at this year’s U.N. General Assembly, where various world leaders discussed the opportunities and challenges presented by this technology.

In his recent peace message, the Pope delved deeper into the profound concerns ethicists and human rights advocates raised regarding technology’s transformative impact on our daily lives. This technology can disrupt various aspects of society, including democratic elections and the world of art.

In March 2023, an image of the Pope garnered widespread attention on the internet. The image featured the Pope wearing a stylish white puffer jacket with a silver bejeweled crucifix. This image was remarkable because it was not a traditional photograph but an artificial intelligence creation, generated using the A.I. software known as Midjourney.

As we approach 2024, the looming threat of A.I. becomes increasingly apparent. Primary national elections in the United States, India, and other nations could be inundated with AI-generated deepfakes, posing significant challenges to the integrity of these democratic processes.

The Archbishop of Fiji has expressed the importance of thoughtful reflection on using A.I. in the upcoming year. He likened this contemplation to Mary’s pondering and reflection on the happenings in the world. Regardless of the gifts bestowed upon us by technology and artificial intelligence, he emphasized the commitment to harness them in ways that promote human dignity and peace.


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