A group of experts from around the world gathered at the Vatican the last few days of September to discuss technology and its impact upon humanity. The conference entitled “Common Good in the Digital Age” was organized by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
The issues that have arisen in the digital age are plentiful. Bishop Paul Tighe, the Secretary for the Pontifical Council for Culture commented that “Our hope was that digitalization would bring us together, but instead has brought fracturing (of groups) and polarization.”
Attendants to the meetings represented Tech firms, NGO’s, academic institutions and the Catholic church. As Mitchell Baker, Executive Chairwoman of Mozilla, put it “Silicon Valley companies assumed the product they built was the common good. Now we realize what was built was not the common good.”
In a meeting with Pope Francis, his holiness went further: “The indisputable benefit that humanity will be able to draw from technological progress depends on the degree to which the new possibilities at our disposal are employed in an ethical manner”
In that regard, participants spent most of the meeting discussing how we might find some common, universal moral laws. Brian Green, Director of Technology Ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University presented a framework for ethical decisions (https://tinyurl.com/z3ejcjo) for consideration as a starting point.