Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia and Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia and Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins 

Cisco signs the "Rome Call for AI Ethics"

Cisco, the multinational digital communications technology company, signs the Pontifical Academy for Life’s “Rome Call for AI Ethics” committing to an ethical approach to artificial intelligence in the areas of Ethics, Education and Rights.

By Linda Bordoni

Expressing satisfaction that the Multinational Digital Communications Technology – Cisco – has joined other major companies involved in AI, in pledging to adhere to ethical guidelines, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, underscored the fact that artificial intelligence is “no longer a topic just for experts” and that the ethics of its development is more urgent than ever.

The President of the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV) was speaking at an event on Wednesday morning during which the CEO of Cisco System Inc., put his signature to The Call for AI Ethics, a document promoted by the Pontifical Academy and by its RenAIssance Foundation (that supports the anthropological and ethical reflection of new technologies on human life) and has already been endorsed by the likes of Microsoft, IBM, FAO and the Italian Ministry of Innovation.

The signing ceremony in the Vatican followed the audience of Cisco CEO and President, Chuck Robbins and a delegation, with Pope Francis before the General Audience.

Pope Francis receives Cisco CE0 Chuck Robbins in audience
Pope Francis receives Cisco CE0 Chuck Robbins in audience

Rome Call to Ethics

The document aims to promote a sense of shared responsibility among international organizations, governments, institutions and the private sector to create a future in which digital innovation and technological progress- and in particular AI - respect the dignity of the human person so that every individual can benefit from the advances of technology.

"We are very pleased that Cisco has joined the Rome Call because it is a company that plays a crucial role as a technological partner for the adoption and implementation of artificial intelligence (AI), by offering expertise in infrastructure, security, and protection of AI data and systems,”  Archbishop Paglia said, adding that “From now on, we will look at how this can further grow to combine the already present corporate commitment with the ethical principles of the Rome Call."

The President of PAV recalled how in 2020, understanding that the time was ripe, the Academy brought to the attention of the world “the need and urgency to call for 'algorethics,' that is ethics in the design of the algorithms that underlie 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.

He said this new endorsement of the Rome Call demonstrates this and noted that the document has already been endorsed by international technology players, government and UN institutions, universities worldwide, companies and individuals, as well as by representatives of the three Abrahamic religions.

Signing ceremony for the Rome Call for AI Ethics in the Vatican
Signing ceremony for the Rome Call for AI Ethics in the Vatican

New opportunities and new challenges

On his part, Chuck Robbins noted how AI is changing our world and “presenting vast opportunities but also new challenges.”

He described his company as having built the networks that connect people and organizations around the world, and said that today it is “building the critical infrastructures and security solutions that will power the AI revolution."

"The principles of the Rome Call are in line 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," Robbins said.

Transparency, accountability, human values

Also present at the event was Father Paolo Benanti, extraordinary professor of Ethics of Technologies at the Pontifical Gregorian University, and scientific director of the RenAIssance Foundation, who pointed to the necessity of acting in multiple directions.

“Developing large, high-quality, unbiased data sets to train AI models; providing access to cyberinfrastructure; building AI competencies; establishing governance frameworks to manage AI development; and providing AI systems that are transparent, accountable, and aligned with human values.“

Cisco's endorsement of the Rome Call for AI Ethics, he concluded, and its commitment to “proactive governance and risk mitigation, and to a broad perspective on the transformative impact of AI across industries and society, "represents a step forward in this process.

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24 April 2024, 15:44