PRAYING WITH THE CHURCH

10/31/2020 2:30:20 PM
November 2020

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INTENTION: That the progress of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) may always serve humankind.

Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humans

 

 Experts say the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) will make most people better off over the next decade, but many have concerns about how advances in AI will affect what it means to be human, to be productive and to exercise free will.

 

 Digital life is augmenting human capacities and disrupting eons-old human activities. Code-driven systems have spread to more than half of the world's inhabitants in ambient information and connectivity, offering previously unimagined opportunities and unprecedented threats. As emerging algorithm-driven artificial intelligence continues to spread, will people be better off than they are today?

 

 Some 979 technology pioneers, innovators, developers, business and policy leaders, researchers and activists answered this question in a canvassing of experts conducted in the summer of 2018.

 

 The experts predicted networked artificial intelligence will amplify human effectiveness but also threaten human autonomy, agency and capabilities. They spoke of the wide-ranging possibilities; that computers might match or even exceed human intelligence and capabilities on tasks such as complex decision-making, reasoning and learning, sophisticated analytics and pattern recognition, visual acuity, speech recognition and language translation. They said "smart" systems in communities, in vehicles, in buildings and utilities, on farms and in business processes will save time, money and lives and offer opportunities for individuals to enjoy a more-customized future.

 

 Many focused their optimistic remarks on health care and the many possible applications of AI in diagnosing and treating patients or helping senior citizens live fuller and healthier lives. They were also enthusiastic about AI's role in contributing to broad public-health programmes built around massive amounts of data that may be captured in the coming years about everything from personal genomes to nutrition. Additionally, a number of these experts predicted that AI would abet long-anticipated changes in formal and informal education systems.

 

 Yet, most experts, regardless of whether they are optimistic or not, expressed concerns about the long-term impact of these new tools on the essential elements of being human. All respondents in this non-scientific canvassing were asked to elaborate on why they felt AI would leave people better off or not. Many shared deep worries, and many also suggested pathways towards solutions.

 

 By Hann Anderson and Lee Rainie

 Pew Research Centre

  

Humanity and ethics must be at centre of (AI) technology

 

 The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in science and medicine must be guided by ethical standards that place humanity and the pursuit of the common good first, Pope Francis said.

 

 "The ethical development of algorithms - 'algor-ethics' - can be a bridge enabling those principles to enter concretely into digital technologies through an effective cross-disciplinary dialogue," the pope said Feb. 28, 2020, in a message to participants in the general assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

 

 Moreover, he said, "human rights represent an important point of convergence in the search for common ground." The Pontifical Academy for Life sponsored a major workshop on "Robo-ethics: Humans, Machines and Health" at the Vatican Feb. 25-26, 2020, that focused on the use of robots and AI, specifically in medicine and health care.

 

 The event was followed by the papal academy's general assembly Feb. 26-28, which was dedicated to studying the impact, challenges and safeguards needed for the use of artificial intelligence, and implications that AI raises in the areas of ethics, legal rights and health care.

 

 On the assembly's final day, the leaders of Microsoft and IBM - two of the world's leading developers of AI software - as well as representatives of the European Parliament and the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation, signed a charter calling for an ethical framework and guidelines for the field of AI.

 

 In his address, the pope thanked the participants of the general assembly for addressing the impact of artificial intelligence in medicine, economy and society where important decisions already are "now the result of human will and a series of algorithmic inputs."

 

 "A personal act is now the point of convergence between an input that is truly human and an automatic calculus, with the result that it becomes increasingly complicated to understand its object, foresee its effects and define the contribution of each factor," he said.

 

 Learning to adapt to the benefits and potential pitfalls of new technology is nothing new, he said, pointing to innovations such as the steam engine, electricity or the invention of the printing press, which revolutionised the way humanity stores and shares information.

 

 Yet, the Pope added, while today's advances in science and medicine continue to "instill a sense of unlimited possibilities," it has also led to "blurring boundaries that hitherto were considered clearly distinguishable: for example, between inorganic and organic matter, between the real and the virtual, between stable identities and events in constant interconnection."

 

 Dangers such as algorithms used to "extract data that enable mental and relational habits to be controlled," however, should "not detract from the immense potential that new technologies offer. We find ourselves before a gift from God, a resource that can bear good fruits," the Pope said.

 

 Francis also expressed concern about increasing use of artificial intelligence in biological sciences and warned that the "correlation and integration between life that is 'lived' and life that is 'experienced' cannot be dismissed in favor of a simple ideological calculation of functional performance and sustainable costs."

 

 "The ethical problems that emerge from the ways that these new devices can regulate the birth and destiny of individuals call for a renewed commitment to preserve the human quality of our shared history," the Pope said.

 

 He also said that the social teaching of the Catholic Church can make "a critical contribution" to the goal of developing ethical standards that protect "the dignity of the person, justice, subsidiarity and solidarity."

 

 "These are expressions of our commitment to be at the service of every individual in his or her integrity and of all people, without discrimination or exclusion," the pope said. "The complexity of the technological world demands of us an increasingly clear ethical framework, so as to make this commitment truly effective."

 

 by Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service

 Feb 28, 2020


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◾《和平》之聲

願機器人及人工智慧的發展,總是以服務人類為目的。
 

個文化都在證明人類自古以來都在抄襲和模仿,在複製自己身處的世界,比如:透過抄襲古時的畫作和雕塑,或透過學習怎樣將已有的東西改良,以增加可用性。人觀察到圓形的物品,如樹枝或石頭,便發明了輪子,大大方便了運輸。然後,經逐步改良,世界不但有了三輪車,還有了第一輛三輪蒸氣動力車,因為人懂得化蒸氣為動能。我雖然不是科學家,也夢想著將聲音(例如音樂)變為動能。當然,很多時候,經人創造出來的,是更具破壞性、更具殺傷力的武器。現今世界,致力研發機器人及人工智能。雖然,兩者對人類有著許多潛在益處,可是,千萬不要自欺欺人。眼下的世界四分五裂,還有某種邪惡的傾向,所以,這些發展可能會對人類造成傷害。身為信徒,我們務必要為無論是科學、經濟、政治或文化方面的發展祈禱,以確保人視之為進步的發展,不會變為危害人類的嚴重失誤,變成為又一個的人為邪惡。


二零二零年 十一月《和平》

9月、10月、11月號,一連三期的特稿,乃譯自前耶穌會總會長倪勝民神父(Adolfo Nicolas SJ)的隨筆,題為《從分心到專心:一個歸心的邀請》。

從分心到專心:一個歸心的邀請(續上)

「自我」是頭號分心

......憑一己的靈感(思想或感情),獨自去幹,總是容易得多。說來奇怪,自命先知總比跟他人一起去作明辨,去謙卑地梳理自己的想法,或自己的不周全見解容易得多。我們可以在團體以外做先知,直到當權者要我們閉嘴,我們便又跑回團體尋求庇護,還時而責怪團體或團體的領袖缺乏理解、勇氣、遠見和支持。這非故意作惡。這樣包含許多良好渴望,遠大夢想,要去做出改變的決心......可是,儘管如此,我們都是分心!

媒體和市場引致的分心:電子產品,互聯網......

由此而來的分心最常見,也最容易察覺。它們就擺在我們大家面前,我們很少人能夠說自己對它們完全或部分免疫。所以,它們不是最危險的。我們肯定需要這些媒體和一些電子產品。這不是問題。但是,為什麼如果我們不緊貼潮流,我們會感到好像遜色?為什麼不一樣,會令我們感到糟糕?為什麼被接納,與世浮沉,為我們如斯重要?

也許,因為我們已經不再作決定了,所以我們持續地在分心。我們容許媒體為一套新的「真理」下定義,即是說,那已經不再是真理,而是故意製造、全無批判性的輿論。正在發展的資訊新文化模式,挑戰我們正視我們的基本選擇。我們要訊息還是理解?速度還是深度?專注於基督還是網上瀏覽?我知道這些不是唯一的選項,沒有人想會是這個樣子,但是如果我們不專心,它們就會像其他的分心一樣,成了我們現實生活的一部分。

宗教領域淺薄的分心:對風俗、習慣、 傳統、禮節、敬拜、立場、理論的支持或反對

耶穌會士都受過長時間的學術培育, 所以這類分心尤其影響我們。當我們的知識增長,沒有融入到祈禱、敬拜和使徒工作 當中,我們便受其影響。這些分心特別令人不安,因為是發生在教會內,在教會的信仰生活當中。我們傾向認為凡與自己的理念不符,便沒有意義;即如果我找不到「意義」,就是「無意義」。而「無意義」令我們相當難耐。然後,我們會採「不全則無/all or nothing」的典型不成熟立場,說服自己:「如果我不同意,它一定是無意義」。聖依納爵以「與聖教會思想一致」的條文,消除這種傾向。他不在乎什麼對他有意義,而是什麼對人有意義,對他同代的樸實人、對教會的樸實信徒有意義。我們有時會自誇:「我永遠不會讚賞我不喜歡的」。依納爵告訴我們要讚賞能幫助人敬拜、祈禱、感覺走近天主和教會的一切。他寫下的條文有強烈的牧民色彩和方向,藉此告訴我們,不要因自我、個人的思想觀念、喜惡、見解和神學而分心,但要顧及在天主的臨在中生活行事的人。忘掉自我,為這些人的生命站起來,表達立場。

 偉大的耶穌會士集整合、投入、貫徹、 專注、毫不分心於一身

仔細看看我們的耶穌會歷史,可以幫助我們。我們都因為我們的歷史及當中的偉人,引以自豪,也理當如此。當我從我們的分心的這個角度默觀他們的時候,打動我的,是他們都完全投入到他們的聖召和使命。他們全然奉上,始終如一地專注於自我奉獻的最終目標:天主和為天國服務。如果逐一詳述他們如何實踐這全然專注的委身,會佔很長的篇幅。讓我們只回憶一些名字,當然還可以加入許許多多的其他名字:

•創始人:依納爵 (Ignatius),沙勿略 (Xavier),法伯爾 (Favre) ...…
•創作人:安切塔 (Anchieta),維埃拉 (Vieira),郎世寧 (Castiglione),波素 (Pozzo) ...…
•先鋒:利瑪竇 (Ricci),德諾比利 (De Nobili),貝巴 (Brebeuf),德日進 (Teilhard),阿魯伯 (Arrupe) ...…
•神秘者:依納爵 (Ignatius),沙勿略 (Xavier), 哥倫比亞 (Colombiere),德日進 (Teilhard) ...…

對這些人的回憶為我來說是回歸中心的邀請,回歸到以天主為中心,回歸到自己的中心,及回歸到我們在耶穌會及教會內被召叫的中心。我們從主接過,及從我們的前輩繼承的召叫和使命,不容許有「分心」的追隨者或僕人。主繼續召叫兄弟和朋友跟隨祂的聖子,即那些願意為祂救贖全人類的夢想而徹底奉獻的人跟隨祂的聖子。任務是一如既往的艱鉅;回應亦需一如既往的全情投入、集中精神,甚至乎要比以往更聚焦,因為我們開始明白到天主的計劃一直以來都是為全宇宙,而非只是人類大家庭。天主在所有受造物的臨在,重新將我們的使命定義,這早已反映在創世紀和保祿書信,並於教宗本篤十六世最近的呼籲中重申。我們再次聽到依納爵的提醒:那些想識別自己是在服侍這樣的一位主的人,會毫無保留,畢生為此奉獻......。

這是隨函的禱文:願我們為著教會、人類和宇宙的益處,更新我們對耶穌日夜不停地在召喚我們去作出的回應。

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