The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) issued a statement titled “A European Call for Responsibility – Ethical Demands for a Human-Centric Artificial Intelligence,” on Friday, 2 February 2024, welcoming the recent adoption of the EU regulation on Artificial Intelligence (AI). Bishop Jamnik: “It is the first robust EU regulatory framework for AI that does justice to the ethical foundations of the European Union.”

COMECE acknowledged the European Union’s initiative in addressing the challenges posed by the emergence of Artificial Intelligence systems by developing a comprehensive regulatory framework.

It welcomed the provisional agreement between the European Parliament and the European Council on the AI Act as “a genuine attempt to chart the future of the digital world in a human-centric and responsible way”.

The statement underscores the importance of upholding fundamental ethical principles, such as the protection of citizens’ fundamental rights, democracy, and the rule of law. It also emphasises that AI systems should be designed to serve and protect people and the environment, devoid of any bias or discriminatory tendencies and exclude anthropomorphizing.

Furthermore, COMECE emphasised the necessity of introducing liability measures. “The ethical principle of responsibility and the capacity of human agency to compensate for damages incurred must be the fundamental pillar for appropriate regulation,” reads the statement.

COMECE also opposed the assignment of legal personality to robots and AI systems, advocating instead for such designation to be reserved solely for natural or legal persons.

In addition to endorsing the European legal framework on Artificial Intelligence, COMECE aligned itself with Pope Francis’ call for an international legally binding treaty on AI. “Besides the responsibility of sovereign states, international organisations should play a decisive role in reaching multilateral agreements,” stated the Holy Father in his 2024 Message for the World Day of Social Communication.

The document, drafted by the COMECE Commission on Ethics under the leadership of H.E. Mgr. Anton Jamnik, reflects a culmination of extensive dialogue among experts from the EU Episcopates, academia, and EU institutions.

Read the full statement from here.