Fr Philip Larrey speaks to Kristina Cassar Dowling about how technological advances – including AI – can be seen in a philosophical way.

The human mind is a strange universe. It’s a machine that requires complex methods of understanding to fully grasp the logical and rational approaches the human race adapts to survive.

We are inclined to act on a whim, to react to our surroundings – but there’s a certain element in life that we’ve come to call ‘intelligence’. And although it may seem that some members of our species disregard this factor in life, hopefully, the greater part of our conscious decisions are intelligently examined before they take shape to form actions.

There have been countless studies on thought in general, varying from scientific to philosophical.
St Augustine of Hippo, an active philosopher in the late fourth century, discusses free will in The Confessions and attributes the existence of sin to be directly connected with the choice afforded by free will. This is directly linked to the choices and consequences we experience in our lives, but Thomas Aquinas describes ‘freedom’ in another way. In natural science, reason is the necessary tool; in mathematics discipline is adopted and in divine science, we use intellect to fully understand our freedoms in life. These principles are what lead us to human excellence, human happiness and the fulfillment of human destiny. The major question of concern here is whether the philosophical
intelligence of humans can be applied to that of artificial intelligence (AI), while keeping the philosophy of the mind in constant focus.

Fr Philip Larrey, chairman of Humanity 2.0 and of logic and epistemology at the Pontifical Lateran University in the Vatican, is an author of two books that deal with AI in connection to philosophical study.

In his newly launched book, Artificial Intelligence. An Essay on the Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence, he discusses the speculations that circle around AI and its possibility to revolutionize the world as we know it.

Complete Interview with Times of Malta