CEC’s Thematic Group on Science, New Technologies and Christian Ethics has recently developed a response to the White paper on Artificial Intelligence – A European approach to excellence and trust, a document issued by the European Commission in February this year.
The response from CEC’s Thematic Group brings into focus topics namely anthropological issues and human dignity, religious discrimination and freedom of religion and belief and concerns on social impacts of AI and ecological issues concerning AI.
The response reflects views from diverse church perspectives in Europe concerning Christian ethics and the human image. The response brings together a common view of different theological traditions focusing on the anthropological dimension, advocating a holistic view.
“Artificial intelligence changes not only our daily lives, but it also has an impact on how we look at human beings, their behaviours and social life,” said Rev. Sören Lenz, CEC Executive Secretary based in Strasbourg and coordinator of CEC’s Thematic Group on Science, New Technologies and Christian Ethics.
“For this reason, the Thematic Group of experts and scientists from CEC Member Churches has critically reviewed the White Paper on Artificial Intelligence. The response from the TG welcomes the white paper but emphasises a holistic approach, which takes into account the anthropological, social, educational and environmental dimensions,” added Rev. Lenz.
“Human dignity is only achieved where mutual solidarity is extended. Thus, in our view, the White Paper rightly points out the need to consider the impact of AI, not only from an individual perspective, but also from the perspective of the society as a whole,” reads the CEC TG response.
The TG also brought forward the question of transparency and possible religious discrimination, which seems to be more relevant when it comes to use of big data and private sphere.
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, TG raises concerns related to the use of tracing apps and the right of privacy, which has potential to affect the freedom of religion, consciousness and belief.