"So I think as a society we need to think very carefully about the ethical use of technologies, and as one of the developers of this kind of artificial intelligence technology we want to be at the forefront of thinking how to use it responsibly for the good of everyone in the world," he said.
One of the ways his company's work is currently effecting Google is through little things such as how to organize photos and recognize what's in them, as well as the way a person's phone speaks to them and the optimization of energy that Google's data centers use.
Hassabis said he thinks it's "really interesting" to see the wider Catholic community taking an interest in the discussion, and called the Church's involvement a great way "to start talking about and debating" how artificial intelligence "will affect society and how we can best use it to benefit all of the society."
Stanislas Dehaene, a professor cognitive neuroscience at the College de France and a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, was also present at the gathering, and spoke to participants on day two about "What is consciousness, and could machines have it?"
Dehaene told CNA/EWTN News that "enormous progress" has been made in terms of understanding the brain, and in part thanks to these advancements, great steps have also been taken in modeling neuro-networks which eventually lead "to superb artificial intelligence systems."
With a lot of research currently being done on consciousness, Dehaene said a true "science of consciousness" has developed to the point that what happens to the brain when it becomes aware of a piece of information is now known "to such a point that it can be modeled."
"So the question is could it be put in computers?" he said, explaining that this is currently being studied. He said he personally doesn't know yet whether there is a limit to the possibilities for artificial intelligence, or what it would be.
However, he stressed that "it's very important" to consider how further advances in artificial intelligence "will modify society, how far can it go and what are the consequences for all of us, for our jobs in particular," he said.
Part of the discussion that needs to take place, Dehaene said, is "how to put ethical controls in the machines so they respect the laws and they respect even the moral laws" that guide human decisions.
"That is an extremely important goal that has not been achieved yet," he said, adding that while he personally doesn't have a problem with a machine making ethical judgments similar to that of a human being, the question "is how to get there" and how to make sure "we don't create a system that is full of machines that don't look like humans, that don't share our intuitions of what should be a better world."
Another major tech head present for the conference was Professor Yann LeCun, Director of Artificial Intelligence Research at Facebook.
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What they try to do at Facebook is to "push the state of the arts to make machines more intelligent," LeCun told CNA. The reason for this, he said, is that people are increasingly interacting through machines.
Artificial intelligence "would be a crucial key technology to facilitate communication between people," he said, since the company's main focus "is connecting people and we think that artificial intelligence has a big role to play there."
Giving an example, LeCun noted that every day Facebook users upload around 1 billion photos and that each of them are recognized, and artificial intelligence systems then monitor the content of the photo in order to show users more images they might be interested in, or filter those they might object to.
"It also enables the visually impaired to get a textual description of the image that they can't see," he said, "so that is very useful."
In terms of how this technology might transform the way we live, LeCun said that within the next few years or even decades, "there will be transformative applications" of artificial intelligence visible and accessible to everyone.
Self-driving cars, the ability to call a car from your smartphone instead of owning one, no parking lots and safer transportation are all things the LeCun said he can see on the horizon, with medical advances being another area of rapid growth.