PRESENTATION OF THE COMMISSION’S INITIATIVE ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

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The Representation Office of the Church of Greece to the EU participated yesterday September the 10th 2018 to a meeting on Artificial Intelligence organized by the European Commission in Brussels on the subject: “Presentation of the Commission’s Initiative on Artificial Intelligence”.

Rev. Dr. Georgios Lekkas, who attended this meeting as the representative of our Director Metropolitan of Achaias Monsignor Athanasios, made the following statement on this crucial point: Where should we put the line between the human being and Artificial Intelligence, if we want to secure oversight and control of Artificial Intelligence?

“Research to increase knowledge is always welcome in Europe if this research does not threaten the survival of the human race. Freedom of research in Europe has been one of the main reasons for the high standards of life we all enjoy in Europe.

However, discoveries in the field of genetics and artificial intelligence may transform the human being into a machine, a human “species” different from what we know as human till now. If we really want to prevent such an evolution, we should be united on the following principle: Research for knowledge must be free in principle. However, the application of knowledge gained must not be free at least in some fields that can influence the future of the human race.

For this reason, European legislation concerning freedom of knowledge and freedom of application of already acquired knowledge needs and receives support from two groups: One, from Scientists who are responsible to inform regularly the European Institutions about the latest discoveries in fields as these mentioned above and, two, from Philosophers and religious leaders able to remind the European Institutions what is the essence of the human being and what differentiates it from all other living beings.

I guess that this is the main reason why we are all gathered today in this room, I mean in order to explain how we consider the human being and its main dimensions which we have to protect under any circumstances.

It seems that the individualistic approach towards the human being, at least in Europe, throughout the 20th century, focused on human autonomy and self-sufficiency and has had dramatic consequences not only for human beings all over the globe but also for our whole planet as a sustainable ecosystem.

We think that we need to find our way back to our Greco-Roman background, and from now on to adhere to a different definition of human being, the main element of which should be its referential characteristic. We are human beings – anthropoi is the Greek word from which are derived the words anthropology and anthropological- because we have been created to be in relationship with others, first with our Creator, our God –ano as the prefix of the Greek word anthropos means towards what or whom is higher than us - and then with all other human beings, our brothers and sisters, independently of their colour, race, sex or religion. According to this referential definition of the human being we have been created to love in freedom with all our mind and with all our heart our Creator and to love in freedom all other human beings as we should love ourselves. A human being who fails to respect this referential definition risks being transformed into a living species much inferior to the human being, into a human-beast or a human-machine.

In conclusion, permit me to say that human rights have been conceived to protect human beings from other human beings, but now it is time for all human beings to collaborate in order to protect our future as humanity from what could be a non-human transhumanity. The role that the E.U. is called to play in this field is of equal or, indeed, higher importance than the role the E.U. played in the recognition of the fundamental human rights. Thank you for your invitation and your attention.

Bruxelles 31.8.18. Archpriest Dr Georgios Lekkas [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.], Church of Greece”.