Pope Francis Joins G7 Summit Today In A First, To Lead AI Discussions

Pope Francis Joins G7 Summit Today In A First, To Lead AI Discussions

G7 SUMMIT 2024: The Group of Seven (G7) Summit underway in Italy is set to witness a historic moment Friday: the first-ever participation of a pope. Pope Francis will be joining the G7 leaders in southern Italy to discuss the ethical implications of artificial intelligence (AI). The summit, attended by G7 member states and significant global leaders invited by Italy, underscored pressing issues such as the war in Ukraine on the first day. Relations with China, apart from discussions on AI, top Friday’s agenda.

Pope Francis was scheduled to attend the COP28 climate talks in Dubai last December, but missed it due to health issues. He is travelling from the Vatican to the summit venue in Borgo Egnazia, and will deliver a pivotal address on AI ethics.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is among the 10 other heads of state and government who will join the pope as the G7 has now opened its doors to outsiders. In a statement on Thursday, the Vatican said Pope Francis will have a one-on-one meeting with PM Modi, among others, on the sidelines of the summit.  

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Pope Francis At G7

The pontiff is scheduled to participate in Friday’s session on AI and hold several bilateral meetings, including discussions with US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. 

The Vatican has of late shown increasing involvement in global discussions on technology and ethics. Previously, it took a proactive stance on this issue, publishing the “Rome Call for AI Ethics” in 2020, which has been endorsed by major tech companies like Microsoft and IBM. 

Pope Francis, who has himself been a victim of the perils of AI as his AI-generated image in a full-length white puffer coat went viral last year, is likely to emphasise on the ethical development of AI.

“It is a historic day. We will welcome the Holy Father. It is the first time for a pontiff at a G7. I am proud it will happen under the Italian presidency,” Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said Thursday.

According to the Vatican statement, Pope Francis will deliver his speech at 2.15 pm local time (6.45 pm IST), prior to which he will have his first batch of bilateral meetings — with International Monetary Fund’s Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva; Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy; French President Emmanuel Macron; and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau.

After his speech, the pope will hold a second batch of bilateral meetings, when he will have one-on-one talks with Kenyan President William Samoei Ruto; Indian PM Narendra Modi; US President Joe Biden; Brazil President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva; Turkiye President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan; and Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune. 

There will a group photo session at 5.30 pm local time (10 pm IST).

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