26 Letters

posted Apr 4, 2019, 9:26 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 4, 2019, 9:26 AM ]

AI in Service of Human Life

Sir, Dr Pascoal Carvalho, a renowned member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, had in The Examiner (March 23-29, 2019), penned an absorbing and a gripping article - "ROBOETHICS: Humans, Machines and Health". He had attended a workshop on this at the Vatican, wherein he concluded:

"Unlike humans, robots are the products of combined data. Even if they exceed man's intelligence, it would not change the reality that robots, unlike humans, lack the freedom to choose—a fact that ensures the superiority of man over machines!"

Allow me to supplement some vital information. Recently the Vatican partnered with Microsoft to offer an international prize for Bio-Ethics, on the best doctoral thesis of 2019; the subject, "Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Service of Human Life"!


Church and State

Sir, His Eminence, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) and the Archbishop of Bombay, in his pastoral letter to the Bishops of India, dated March 14, 2019, has amplified the need for a leader vis-à-vis the needs of our nation. It is incumbent on the chosen leader to maintain the sanctity of the Constitution, keeping our nation sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic. The Constitution guarantees all its citizens Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.

Interestingly, the article, 'Religion and Politics: Church and State' by Austin Ivereigh & Kathleen Griffin, clearly explains the role of the Church vis-à-vis politics. The Church must articulate its core values, as stated in the Gospels and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Church has the right to defend itself and its people of Catholic faith, when these core values are compromised.

Curiously, in the United States, while emboldened to the separation of the Church and state, one of its founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, exhorted that the Congress, House and Senate begin its day with a prayer, embedded in the Judeo-Christian tradition. The US Dollar carries the words - "In God We Trust."


The Great Combat

Sir, The reflections on the First Sunday of Lent by Fr Lawrence A. D'Souza, in The Examiner (March 9-15, 2019) issue was very informative, and it enriched our understanding on the temptations of Jesus. The connection between the mocking words uttered at the Temptations, and later on at the foot of the Cross, is brought out very well. Also, the explanation provided on the word 'Bread' is very illustrative, especially receiving the Bread in the right way after opening our hearts to the Word of God and also on how Jesus has replicated the miracle of multiplication of bread by becoming Bread which is inexhaustible in the Eucharist for us till the end of time. >>>


SHAKTI for the common man

Sir, Recently, India conducted its first anti-satellite (ASAT) missile test, called "SHAKTI", successfully destroying a low earth orbit satellite in space, by using a missile which covered a distance of 300 km to engage the target. This has been touted as a major achievement for the country. We understand this Test places India in a select group, alongside the US, Russia and China, countries with demonstrated anti-satellite capability.

Are we proud of this status that our country has gained, in the group of developed, super powers? We have competed with these nations in the field of Science and Technology – well, that's great! In fact, our Prime Minister announced this achievement in a specially televised speech to the nation.


Repentance, Repair and Reconciliation

Sir, I refer to the above titled editorial in The Examiner, dated March 30, 2019. The thoughts are expressed in simple and elegant language. The average reader needs communication that does not tax the intellect, and is easily understood. It tells us what is needed for being penitent and obtaining God's forgiveness.

The term 'The return of the Prodigal Son' is well known in the English language, describing a truly penitent individual who has returned to the fold. God's forgiveness is always there, provided we do not go astray again. Now, the author of the Editorial draws our attention to another path on which we can go astray—the attitude and rankling of the elder brother. He resents their father going overboard, so to say, in welcoming back the errant brother.


Great Initiative by Versova cops

Sir, The decision taken by Versova cops on March 20 (World Sparrow Day) to install 25 bird feeders behind their premises is really a good initiative. In fact, their premises will have a small forest where sparrows and other birds can build their nests. This initiative will help spread awareness about such a good and noble cause. >>>


Miracle at Cana

When Jesus went to Cana, a wedding to attend,
Mother Mary was also there, and so was many a friend,
There was much joy and gaiety, and everything was fine,
When suddenly, His Mother said, "My Son, they have no wine."
Though Jesus to His Mother told, "My hour has not yet come,"
Yet She to all the servants said, "Please listen to my Son."
So when the servants filled six jars with water to the brim,