Pope Francis received the members of the Pontifical Academy for Life on Monday. They are currently gathered in Rome for a three-day conference. The meeting ends on Wednesday, marking the 30th anniversary of the Academy. It was founded in 1994 by John Paul II (1978-2005) to advise the Pope primarily on bioethical and medical ethical issues. In the meantime, the Academy has also begun to address other topics of the future such as transhumanism and artificial intelligence. The theme of the three-day conference in Rome is: "Human. Meanings and Challenges". During his meeting with the researchers at the Vatican on Monday, the Pope emphasised that the question of what constitutes a human being is as old as it is topical. In view of the latest technological advances, it is even more urgent than ever.
Scientists have always spoken out against simply being in favour of or against new machines and technologies. "This alternative is pointless," explained the Pope. And it is also "not plausible to rely solely on the distinction between natural and artificial processes" and to regard the one as truly human and the other as inhuman. Rather, it is about interpreting scientific and technological knowledge in such a way that a dangerous predominance of technology is prevented. This also includes the attempt to reproduce the human being with the means and logic of technology. Instead, human creativity must be exercised in a responsible manner, the Pope demanded. This is why science and technology should recognise the human being in its "unrepeatable uniqueness and develop it further". (KNA)