Faith Matters

Reading for Lent: Robots, Ethics and the Future of Jobs

Robots, Ethics and the Future of Jobs, by Séan McDonagh

Robots, Ethics and the Future of Jobs

By Séan McDonagh

ARTIFICIAL Intelligence, or AI, is something we have considered on these pages before. Professor John Lennox, the Armagh-born Oxford University mathematician, for example, delivered a tour de force on the theme last year, with his book 2084: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity.

The coronavirus pandemic has shown just how dependent we are on digital technology - not only because platforms such as Zoom have enabled us to keep in contact with family, friends and work during lockdown, but because it has also enabled the development of vaccines.

There are deep moral implications to be considered in the directions technology is moving.

Fr Séan McDonagh, the renowned Columban environmentalist, has given this vexed subject serious consideration in Robots, Ethics and the Future of Jobs.

He points out how the same tools that we use to connect, protect and support us can also be put to use in ways that have a huge negative impact on our privacy, our freedom and our life choices.

McDonagh argues that we need to understand and address the potential repercussions of developing technology in an ethical vacuum.

We are fast approaching the biggest shake-up in our way of life since the Industrial Revolution with little regulation and few institutional policies and protections. Respect for human rights, he says, must be at the heart of these new technologies.

Robots, Ethics and the Future of Jobs by Séan McDonagh is published by Messenger Publications, £18.95.

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