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Google AI expert named to Pontifical Academy of Sciences

Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences

Catarina Belova | Shutterstock

I.Media - published on 03/12/24

Demis Hassabis, head of Google DeepMind, was among the six scientists Pope Francis appointed to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on March 8, 2024.

Pope Francis has appointed artificial intelligence expert Demis Hassabis, head of Google DeepMind, as a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Holy See Press Office announced on March 8, 2024. Five other renowned scientists have been nominated, including Swiss astronomer and Nobel Prize winner in physics Didier Queloz.

Hassabis is co-founder of Google Deepmind, the artificial intelligence arm of Alphabet Inc. While invested in the race to develop AI, he is one of the representatives who have particularly alerted public opinion to the risks involved in the significant advances seen in recent years.

In 2016, this British citizen of Cypriot and Singaporean origin took part in a conference on artificial intelligence organized by the Holy See, alongside Professor Stephen Hawking and Yann Le Cun, who is in charge of artificial intelligence at Meta (Facebook).

In 2020, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences awarded him the Pius XI Medal, which is awarded every two years to a scientist under the age of 45 whose work is deemed “exceptionally promising.”

2 Nobel Prizes in Physics

The Pope also appointed Swiss astronomer Didier Patrick Queloz, professor at the Geneva Observatory and Cambridge University, as a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. This specialist in the search for exoplanets, along with his colleague Michel Mayor, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2019 for the discovery of planet 51 Pegasi B.

The Pontiff named another astronomer and Nobel laureate in physics, American scientist Andrea Mia Ghez. She won the Nobel in 2020 along with two colleagues for their discovery of the black hole Sagittarius A. She now teaches at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Another papal appointee is biogeochemist Örjan Mikael Gustafsson, from Stockholm University. Since 2014 he has been a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which is in charge of designating Nobel Prizes in physics and chemistry. His work focuses on the environmental consequences of melting ice.

Pope Francis also appointed Uruguayan biochemist Rafael Radi Isola, a doctor of biochemistry and professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of the Republic in Montevideo. He works on oxygen consumption by cells linked to energy production.

Finally, Batmanathan Dayanand Reddy, a specialist in applied mathematics and computer mechanics, has been appointed a member. This South African chaired the International Science Council from 2018 to 2021.

ChurchFaith and ScienceScienceVatican
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