Rome Call for AI Ethics

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#RomeCallforAIethics  @call_rome www.romecall.org

Rome, February 28th. Pontifical Academy for Life, Microsoft, IBM, FAO, the Italia Government, today signed as first  the “Call for an AI Ethics”, a document developed to support an ethical approach to Artificial Intelligence and promote a sense of responsibility among organizations, governments and institutions with the aim to create a future in which digital innovation and technological progress serve human genius and creativity and not their gradual replacement.

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 «The sponsors of the call express their desire to work together, in this context and at a national and international level, to promote “algor-ethics”, namely the ethical use of AI as defined by the following principles: 1) Transparency: in principle, AI systems must be explainable; 2) Inclusion: the needs of all human beings must be taken into consideration so that everyone can benefit and all individuals can be offered the best possible conditions to express themselves and develop; 3) Responsibility: those who design and deploy the use of AI must proceed with responsibility and transparency; 4) Impartiality: do not create or act according to bias, thus safeguarding fairness and human dignity; 5) Reliability: AI systems must be able to work reliably;  6) Security and privacy: AI systems must work securely and respect the privacy of users.  These principles are fundamental elements of good innovation».

First signatories: Msgr. Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life (sponsor of the initiative); Mr. Brad Smith, President of Microsoft; Mr. John Kelly III, Vice President of IBM, Mr. Dongyu Qu, General Director FAO; Mrs. Paola Pisano, Italian Government. To the cerimony has participated Mr. David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament.

During the morning Abp. Paglia has read the speech prepared by Pope Francis.

Msgr. Paglia said: "The Call’s intention is to create a movement that will widen and involve other players: public institutions, NGOs, industries and groups to set a course for developing and using technologies derived from AI. From this point of view, we can say that the first signing of this call is not a culmination, but a starting point for a commitment that appears even more urgent and important than ever before. Joining this initiative implies for the industries that sign it an engagement that also has a relevance in terms of costs and industrial contribution to developing and distributing their products. If the Academy feels called to intensify its efforts to facilitate the knowledge and signature of other international actors, none the less the Call is a first step which is a prelude to others. The Call’s text is also characterized by being a first attempt to formulate a set of ethical criteria with common reference points and values, offering a contribution to the development of a common language to interpret what is human ".

"Microsoft is proud to be a signatory of the Rome Call for AI Ethics, which is an important step in promoting a thoughtful, respectful, and inclusive conversation on the intersection of digital technology and humanity. I am inspired by his Holiness’ commitment and contributions to this important dialogue, and thank him, the Pontifical Academy for Life and the other representatives of the Holy See for today’s announcement.” – Brad Smith, President, Microsoft.

Mr. John Kelly III, Vice President of IBM has said: “AI is incredibly promising technology that can help us make the world smarter, healthier and more prosperous, but only if it is shaped at the outset by human interests and values. The Rome Call for AI Ethics reminds us that we have to choose carefully whom AI will benefit and we must make significant concurrent investments in people and skills. Society will have more trust in AI when people see it being built on a foundation of ethics, and that the companies behind AI are directly addressing questions of trust and responsibility.”

Vatican City, February 28th, 2020

The 'good' algorithm. Opening Session

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Abp. Paglia. Our work on Artificial Intelligence has led us to add a special event that will take place on Friday morning. As you can see from the program, the final session of the Workshop will be devoted to an overview of the ethics of Artificial Intelligence. The Speakers on Friday will be some of the true world leaders in the field, both commercial and academic. The presence of the leaders of Microsoft and IBM, from whom we have not sought any financial contribution, is the result of an intense process of listening and dialogue. The outcome of that process was the decision to launch a “Call for ethics”—a statement of ethical commitment—which will have as its first signors the President of Microsoft, Brad Smith, the Executive Vice -5- President of IBM, John Kelly III, and the Director General of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, QU Dongyu.

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In addition, the presence at Friday’s exceptionally important ceremony of the leader, David Sassoli, of institution like the European Parliament, shows the importance and the possibilities of the event we have been working on. The Charter, The Rome Call for AI Ethics, is not an official text of the Academy. Certainly, it is something that we proposed and that I am endorsing, but it takes its vitality from the relationships and support among all those who have been working on it. Those who sign it commit to following in a shared way their research and practice with respect to the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence. With this initiative, the Academy is not creating commercial partnerships, it is not marrying or sponsoring anyone. Rather, it shares, prudently, a journey with others who have an honest desire to better understand how to promote the good of humanity and to take some steps in that direction, being willing to examine their practices critically and bear the costs resulting from their commitment. The text is the result of a dedicated work participated in by some of the world's leading experts on the subject and by some of our Members. The document was submitted to the Holy See Secretary of State for approval, and to the various other dicasteries that deal with the issues considered. At our audience with Pope Francis on Friday morning we will present to him the fruit of our labor.

The Call is intended for widespread distribution and will become truly effective to the extent that it has many additional signatories incorporations,international agencies, governments and regulatory bodies.

I believe that urging leaders in technological innovation to make a specific and public ethical commitment is a true exercise of the defense and promotion of human life—one of the ways in which we fulfill our mission. Furthermore, and in particular because it is a summary text, the Call offers essentially a list of issues for scientific study within the separate themes. Thus, in addition to its commitment to work with the initial signers to increase the total number of those who commit to the Call, the Academy will work in the coming months to have universities and research centers all over the world, independently or in shared projects, promote scientific reflectiononspecific aspects of Artificial Intelligence Ethics. 

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