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WCC expresses concern over unregulated development of AI

The World Council of Churches (WCC) central committee, in a public statement, expressed concern at the accelerating pace of development and application of generative artificial intelligence (AI).

“Concerns about this type of technology have been longstanding in the ecumenical movement,” the statement notes. “The central committee affirms the concerns expressed by many regarding the absence of effective regulation of the accelerating development of a technology with such vast acknowledged potential for harm as well as for good.”

The statement, which recognizes the many areas in which narrowly constrained applications of this technology are already demonstrating their utility, concludes with an invitation to WCC member churches and ecumenical partners to “advocate with their governments for swift action to establish appropriate regulatory regimes and accountability frameworks, and to engage in theological reflection and study through their theological education institutions on the ethics of AI and its implications for human self-understanding, taking into account its potential positive as well as negative consequences.”

The WCC central committee usually meets every two years and serves as the chief governing body of the WCC between assemblies. This year’s meeting is the first since the central committee was elected at the WCC 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany, in 2022.