Algorethics? Here we are!


We are here too, and would LOVE to help.

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This post is a spur of the moment comment, but above all an offer, about how to “tame the algorithm so as not to end up tamed”, an interview with Paolo Benanti about “how the great Abrahamic religions have mobilized to ask that the application of Artificial Intelligence to human life and society be a growth and not a drift. Remembering that no technology is neutral in itself”.

First a suggestion, if I may

“Algorethics” seems a very effective term to me. Algorithms, instead… These days, too many media cover or mention “algorithms” as if they were cause and core of some conspiracy or mystical knowledge, that is as. clickbait.

Therefore, I dare suggest that if we all started to say “automatic procedures” or “full automation” every time (that is, almost always) those are much better descriptions of what is actually being discussed, many more people would grasp the actual issue, much more quickly.

A necessary, but perhaps still unbalanced dialogue

Getting to the heart of the matter, a joint mobilization of Abrahamic religions on algorithmics is excellent news.

But perhaps that common front needs to be strengthened, to equalize the forces in the field. That is, IBM, Microsoft and the like MUST definitely participate in discourses on ethics (even if they didn’t want to), God forbid. But a participation in the front row, without adequate and complete representation from the opposite or lower sides of society, feels a bit too much like Benjamin Franklin’s democracy, that of two wolves and one lamb voting on what to have for lunch.

We’re here!

Quoting from the article, “what our whole movement is asking [is that] different active communities and members of civil society can bring their positive contributions, in order to bring real human development out of these technological innovations.”

I fully agree, and for this very reason I’ll dare to remind something, not to start some “I’m better than you” contest but only, I repeat: only as an offer, and *request *, to be actively involved and have a chance to contribute to this effort.

The fact that certain technologies are more open than others to real human developments, and that Catholics, and in general anyone who is religious, have even more reasons than others to promote said technologies, it’s something that I and others have been pointing out for almost eighteen years now. How and why are described in the works listed at the bottom of this post, because its purpose is only one:

to signal that there are other Catholics who have been studying this problem seriously and for a long time, and are available to actively contribute to any initiative on the subject.

To contact us, just email.

Reading list

  1. 2005: Free Software’s Surprising Sympathy with Catholic Doctrine
  2. 2005: Christian Endorsement for Free Software Increases
  3. 2006: the Eleutheros Manifesto for a Catholic Approach to ICT
  4. 2009: The real effect of the Internet on Catholicism (or any other religion)
  5. 2013: The departure of Benedict XVI? Not on this computer, sorry
  6. 2013: Catholic Social Doctrine And the Openness Revolution: Natural Travel Companions?
  7. 2013: a suggestion to all Commoners
  8. 2016: Core values? Even software, file formats and servers transmit them
  9. more recently: all the posts in the “religion” and “catholics” sections of this blog, some of which are visible in the screenshots below
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CAPTION: Posts about religion and digital technology
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CAPTION: Othe posts about religion and digital technology
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