While acknowledging that AI represents “a true cognitive-industrial revolution,” Pope Francis warns that artificial intelligence risks turning human relations into mere algorithms. The Pope aired his AI views on June 14th before a special session at the annual summit of the Group of Seven (G7) in Bari, Italy.

As reported by the Associated Press, the 87-year-old Pope wasn’t shy about tackling an issue that’s increasingly a topic at international summits and conferences. Pope Francis himself was memorably the target of a deepfake image of him wearing a white Balenciaga puffer coat.

The G7 is a summit of the world’s most powerful democracies. This is the first time a Pope has been invited to speak. The Pope was invited by Italian premier Giorgia Meloni. The G7 is comprised of the United States, Italy, France, Germany, Canada, Japan and The United Kingdom. Additionally, 10 other nations were in attendance at the invitation of Italy.

“We would condemn humanity to a future without hope if we took away people’s ability to make decisions about themselves and their lives, by dooming them to depend on the choices of machines,” said Pope Francis. “We need to ensure and safeguard a space for proper human control over the choices made by artificial intelligence programs. Human dignity itself depends on it.”

Pope Francis reportedly also warned against AI potential to acerbate social tensions and injustices and a tendency to reinforce dominant cultures. The Pope added that lethal autonomous AI weapons systems for warfare should be banned.

Pope Francis also warned that generative AI risks undermining education. The use of AI in education “runs the risk of being reduced to a repetition of notions, which will be increasingly be evaluated as unobjectionable, simply because of their constant repetition,” said the pontiff. “

This is not the first time the Pope has addressed AI issues. In his annual peace message, Pope Francis called for an international treaty to ensure that AI is developed ethically. The Pope maintains that a technology lacking the human values like compassion, mercy, morality and forgiveness is too dangerous to go unchecked. By addressing a major summit like the G7, Pope Francis is putting his star power and moral authority behind his cause, one precipitated by the development of generative AI.

Pope Francis is preaching to the converted. Japan, for example, last month issued a framework for global regulation of generative AI called Hiroshima AI Process Friends Group that will develop principles and codes of conduct.

“Generative AI has the potential to be a vital tool to further enrich the world,” said Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishada, who added “we must also confront the dark side of AI, such as risk of disinformation.”

Other international groups are moving in the same direction as indicated by the European Union’s passage of the AI Act. The United Nations also is involved in crafting an AI policy and issued its first resolution on the matter in March. In the United States, President Biden has called for AI legislation while some states like Indiana have initiated legislative safeguards of their own. In short, Pope Francis’ remarks may signal that a global consensus regarding the need for AI regulation is in play.

The tricky part may be enforcement. Italy already has approved a bill laying out penalties for AI-related crimes. So that next step is being taken.