A virtual gallery of the Sistine Chapel and its most beautiful works of art, this is the original project that the Vatican plans to create in the coming months thanks to a partnership, signed on May 2, the innovative company specializing in reality Virtual Sensorium. This virtual gallery of the Vatican collections would be made up of NFT (Non-Fungible Token), digital files of exceptional quality, non-reproducible and tamper-proof which, for several months, have been driving pixel collectors and markets crazy. The idea would be to allow easy access to more than 800 works by 250 artists, including the famous paintings of the Sistine Chapel, presented in an NFT format, in a virtual reality museum. Access to Vatican manuscripts and events would also be on the program.
An association and a priest behind the project
This project is at the heart of a partnership launched by Sensorium and Humanity 2.0. The first is a company presenting itself as at the forefront of the development of metaverses, these persistent virtual universes which are accessible today thanks to the technology of 3D (three-dimensional) interaction. She works in particular with a view to developing them in the field of entertainment and social networks. The other, Humanity 2.0, is an NGO committed to development that is based on respect for people, particularly in the technological field. Its president is Father Philip Larrey, a Catholic priest who holds the Chair of Logic and Epistemology at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.
Dean of the philosophy department, he works mainly on the philosophy of knowledge and critical thinking, with a particular interest in the implications of the new digital era for society. His latest book is about the challenges of artificial intelligence. ” Candidly, he challenges the leaders he meets in the Vatican to discuss how technology is shaping the formation of our society “says his presentation on his personal website. At his side, within the advisory board of Humanity 2.0, we find the president of Publicis, Maurice Lévy, or that of Noovle Carlo d’Asaro Biondo, also former chief of European operations of Google. It was again Father Larrey who was present during the audience granted by Pope Francis to the president of Alphabet (Google), Eric Schmidt, in 2016.
” Like the Dominican Father Eric Salobir, Philip Larrey is one of the people who understood that the Vatican could not ignore these new realities and that they should not be discovered too late, in 30 years, when they will be democratized. “Said a Vatican observer. ” It is also an opportunity to act upstream to avoid ethical abuses “, he underlines while acknowledging that, for the time being, these questions have not yet ” good press in the Catholic world.
A technology to be oriented well, according to the pope
If the Vatican and Silicon Valley can often seem like two worlds at odds with each other, many bridges have been built between them in recent years. Pope Francis, in Laudato Si’ (2015), sharply criticized the ” technology, linked to the financial sectors, which claims to be the only solution to the problems » and more broadly the existence of a « techno-economic paradigm ” and even ” technocratic » endangering society and the environment. However, he also considered that ” techno-science, well oriented, not only can produce really valuable things to improve the quality of life of human beings […] but still is capable of producing beauty and “projecting” into the realm of beauty the human being immersed in the material world “.
In 2020, Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, managed to get Microsoft number 2, Brad Smith, to sign a ” Call from Rome for an ethics of Artificial Intelligence”. A document aimed at promoting a sense of responsibility in the organizations that today invest in this technology, so that they serve the human and not his ” gradual replacement “.
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Vatican to turn Sistine Chapel into NFT
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