Pope Francis warns AI poses risk to 'human dignity itself' as he becomes first pontiff to address G7

Pope Francis has issued a warning about AI as he became the first pontiff to address the G7 summit of world leaders.

A hush fell as he entered the room in his wheelchair - and he greeted each of the leaders in turn, including President Biden, President Zelenskyy and Rishi Sunak.

His countryman, Argentinian President Javier Milei, gave him an especially warm welcome, while there was a hug from Jordan's King Abdullah and a whispered exchange with President Biden.

The Pope told leaders artificial intelligence offered "epochal transformation" that included "exponential" advances in scientific research.

However, he warned it must be closely monitored to maintain "human dignity" and control.

"We would condemn humanity to a future without hope if we took away people's ability to make decisions about themselves and their lives, by dooming them to depend on the choices of machines," he said.

"We need to ensure and safeguard a space for proper human control over the choices made by artificial intelligence programmes: human dignity itself depends on it."

"No machine should ever choose to take the life of a human being," he added.

The speech echoed his annual peace message, which called for a treaty to ensure AI is developed ethically to uphold values such as compassion and morality.

The meeting is taking place in Italy's southern Puglia region, some 260 miles from the 87-year-old Pope's home in The Vatican.

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The core G7 is made up of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and US.

However, the leaders of India, Brazil, Turkey, Algeria, Kenya and Tunisia - who together represent 1.6 billion people - are also there.

The first day of the summit on Thursday brought about a renewed pledge to support Ukraine in its war with Russia.

Migration from Africa, a particular concern for Italy, the Gaza war, and climate change are also on the agenda.

Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni will host an informal dinner on Friday evening and on Saturday afternoon there will be a final press conference on the summit's outcomes.