VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis, acknowledging that he was the victim of a deepfake photo, on Wednesday (Jan 24) warned against the “perverse” dangers of artificial intelligence, renewing a call for its worldwide regulation to harness it for the common good.
Pope Francis spoke of his fears and hopes for artificial intelligence (AI) in his message for the Roman Catholic Church’s World Day of Social Communications, which will be marked around the world on May 12.
While he urged people to temporarily “set aside catastrophic predictions and their numbing effects” about new things, his three-page message was mostly dire, warning of “cognitive pollution” that can distort reality, promote false narratives and imprison people in ideological echo chambers.
“We need but think of the long-standing problem of disinformation in the form of fake news, which today can employ ‘deepfakes’, namely the creation and diffusion of images that appear perfectly plausible but false – I too have been an object of this,” Pope Francis wrote.
He apparently was referring to a fake image of him that went viral on social media last year. It depicted him wear an ankle-length white puffer coat posted by someone who used an image generating programme.
Pope Francis also spoke of fake “audio messages that use a person’s voice to say things which that person never said”.