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American giant Cisco signs Vatican’s “Rome Call for AI Ethics” 

Vatican representatives and Cisco representatives meet to sign the Rome Call for AI ethics on April 24, 2024

Agenzia Romano Siciliani

I.Media - published on 04/25/24

After Microsoft and IBM, American technology giant Cisco signs the Vatican's document calling for an ethical use of artificial intelligence.

Four years after Microsoft and IBM, on April 24, 2024, Californian technology giant Cisco signed the Rome Call for AI Ethics, a pact presented by the Holy See in 2020 to promote an ethical approach to artificial intelligence. Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life and a key architect of the Rome Call, stressed the importance of the company as it “plays a crucial role as a technology partner for the adoption and implementation of artificial intelligence.”

“Today we know that AI is no longer a topic just for experts, and reflecting on the ethics of its development is more urgent than ever. [Cisco’s] signing of the Rome Call demonstrates this,” Archbishop Paglia said, in a press release shared by the Vatican. 

CISCO CEO Chuck Robbins meets with Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia in Rome on April 24, 2024
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia and Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins

Getting experts and important companies on board

On February 28, 2020, the Vatican had welcomed the first signatories of the Rome Call for AI Ethics, a document developed by the Pontifical Academy for Life that advocates for the development of more transparent, inclusive, socially beneficial and responsible technologies. Pope Francis publicly supported the initiative. Among the first signatories were Microsoft, IBM and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

Cisco’s Chair and CEO, Chuck Robbins, signed the document this morning in Rome, shortly after meeting with Pope Francis. “The Rome Call principles align with Cisco’s core belief that technology must be built on a foundation of trust at the highest levels in order to power an inclusive future for all,” said Chuck Robbins in the press release. 

Vatican representatives and Cisco representatives meet to sign the Rome Call for AI ethics on April 24, 2024

An important figure behind this initiative is Franciscan Father Paolo Benanti, who is the Scientific director of the RenAIssance Foundation, which was established in 2021 within the Pontifical Academy for Life and promotes the Rome Call. He is an expert on the relationship between ethics and AI, and teaches ethics of technologies at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He is also a member of the United Nations Advisory Body on Artificial Intelligence.

“One of the key elements in addressing the transformations of AI is the enabling of its capabilities […] in an ethical manner [which] requires action in multiple directions,” Father Benanti said in the press release. “Today’s Cisco’s signature of the Rome Call for AI Ethics is a step forward in this process.”

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