Pope Francis met with the president of Microsoft, Brad Smith, on Wednesday for a closed-doors meeting about the future of artificial intelligence.

When they emerged, they announced a joint mission to help promote the development of responsible, ethical AI that helps rather than exploits people, according to The Seattle Times, demonstrating that the possible risks of AI technology is a hot topic even at the Vatican.

Digital Equality

Smith and Francis discussed how artificial intelligence could help alleviate global inequality rather than exacerbate it, according to Reuters.

Artificial intelligence stands to generate vast wealth for the corporations and countries that develop it, but in doing so they could leave the rest of the world behind.

Raise the Stakes

The duo announced that they would jointly sponsor a prize for AI researchers working to develop ethical, responsible AI tech. The winner will be someone who presented a doctoral thesis on artificial intelligence tech that stands to benefit the common good, The Seattle Times reports.

The $6,900 prize and an invitation to Microsoft’s office in Seattle is paltry compared to what the two could have offered up, but the contest still represents an increasingly public drive to make sure that AI is developed with the needs of humanity in mind.

READ MORE: Vatican, Microsoft team up on artificial intelligence ethics [The Seattle Times]

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