Pope Francis urges powerful to act humbly in surprise TED talk appearance

Pope Francis speaking during a TED Conference, urging people to connect with and understand others, in Vancouver, Canada, on April 25, 2017.
Pope Francis speaking during a TED Conference, urging people to connect with and understand others, in Vancouver, Canada, on April 25, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

TORONTO (REUTERS) - Pope Francis made a surprise appearance at a TED talk conference on Tuesday (April 25), urging powerful leaders "to act humbly" and said he hoped technological innovation would not leave people behind.

The 18-minute video was filmed in Vatican City and broadcast to the audience at the annual TED 2017 conference in Vancouver.

"The more powerful you are, the more your actions will have an impact on people, the more responsible you are to act humbly," said the pontiff, while seated at a desk. "If you don't, your power will ruin you, and you will ruin the other."

The comments echoed Pope Francis' frequent themes to not ignore the plight of immigrants, the poor and other vulnerable people.

Speaking in Italian with subtitles, Francis urged solidarity to overcome a "culture of waste" that had affected not only food but people cast aside by economic systems that rely increasingly on automation.

"How wonderful would it be if the growth of scientific and technological innovation would come along with more equality and social inclusion," he said.

TED Talk lectures have grown in popularity, having been viewed cumulatively over 4.6 billion times since going online in 2006 (www.ted.com).

Other speakers slated to appear at the annual conference this week include tennis superstar Serena Williams and entrepreneur Elon Musk.