Pope Francis has delivered his annual message for the 2024 World Day of Social Communications, addressing the theme “Artificial Intelligence and the Wisdom of the Heart: Towards a Fully Human Communication.” The Pope’s message underscores the role of AI in modern communication and the inherent limitations of machines in replacing the wisdom of the human heart.
AI’s impact on society
In his message, Pope Francis acknowledges the profound impact of artificial intelligence on the world of information and communication, asserting that these changes affect everyone. He raises the crucial question of how humanity can guide this cultural transformation for the greater good.
The role of the human heart
The Pope emphasizes that, in this era marked by technological advancement, our reflections must begin with the human heart. Drawing from biblical symbolism, he describes the heart as the seat of freedom, decision-making, integrity, unity, emotions, desires, dreams, and the place where humans encounter God. It is the wisdom of the heart that enables us to integrate the various aspects of our lives, decisions, vulnerabilities, past, future, individuality, and communal ties.
AI vs. Human Intelligence
Pope Francis contends that the term “artificial intelligence” can be misleading, as true intelligence transcends data storage and requires making sense of information – a task uniquely suited to humans. He warns that the inclination of the human heart can determine whether AI is an opportunity or a threat. While AI algorithms have applications in specific fields, their misuse can distort human relationships and reality, potentially leading to disturbing scenarios. Thus, the Pope asserts the importance of regulating AI but acknowledges that regulation alone is insufficient.
Growth in humanity
The Pope calls for collective growth in humanity, emphasizing the need to become a complex, multiethnic, pluralistic, multireligious, and multicultural society. He underscores the interconnection between information and living relationships, highlighting that genuine relationships involve physical presence, immersion in the real world, and the sharing of human experiences and compassion. Pope Francis pays tribute to journalists who have sacrificed their lives to share the suffering of others, advocating for a deeper understanding of the senselessness of war through direct contact with human pain.
Concluding his message, Pope Francis posits that humanity faces a choice between becoming subjects of algorithms or nurturing hearts capable of discernment and vigilance. He implores society to safeguard its freedom, a prerequisite for growth in wisdom. The Pope prays for the return of wisdom, which predates modern technology, to guide the use of artificial intelligence in service of fully human communication.