Pope Francis recently addressed artificial intelligence (AI) and its influence on mankind in a speech that was delivered for the 2024 World Day of Social Communications (via Vatican News). This message was delivered in a recent message.
The message that was delivered by the leader of the Catholic Church centered on the junction of artificial intelligence (AI) and the fundamental characteristics that provide us with the capacity to be completely human.
Table of Contents
The Pope’s Recent Comments on AI
In the beginning, Pope Francis acknowledges the significant impact that artificial intelligence has had on the world of information and communication, and he asserts that these advances have an effect on everyday people. He asks the following question: “How can we remain fully human and guide this cultural transformation to serve a good purpose?”
“Wisdom of the heart is the virtue that enables us to integrate the whole and its parts, our decisions and their consequences, our nobility and our vulnerability,” Pope Francis is articulating.
On the other hand, he cautions that computers cannot be expected to possess genuine knowledge, highlighting the fact that the term “intelligence” in the context of artificial intelligence may be misleading. Although AI is capable of storing data, it is only human beings who possess the particular talents necessary to make sense of that data.
Although he recognizes the potential of artificial intelligence in certain domains, Pope Francis warns against its inappropriate application. He emphasizes the dual nature of technology by adding that “depending on the inclination of the heart, everything within our reach becomes either an opportunity or a threat.” This statement allows him to highlight the dual character of technology. In the wrong hands, artificial intelligence capabilities could lead to scenarios that are unsettling, which is why regulation is necessary.
Vatican’s Previous Comments on AI
Pope Francis has expressed his concerns about the unfettered development of artificial intelligence on multiple occasions, including this one.
In December of 2023, he made a proposal for the establishment of a legally enforceable international convention to control artificial intelligence (AI), highlighting the significance of protecting human values in the face of advances in technology.
His Holiness issued a warning against the possibility of a “technological dictatorship” and voiced his concerns on the role that artificial intelligence plays in armament systems.
A growing understanding of the need for ethical monitoring is indicated by the fact that the need for regulation corresponds with worldwide efforts, such as the Artificial Intelligence Act passing in Europe.
The comments expressed by the Pope were recently repeated by Friar Paolo Benanti, a prominent figure and an expert in the Vatican’s ethical issues of artificial intelligence. He places a strong emphasis on the significance of inclusive data and governance, saying, “It is not a problem of using (AI), but it is a problem of governance.”
In June of 2023, the Vatican made another noteworthy action by publishing a thorough manual on the ethics of artificial intelligence. The Institute for Technology, Ethics, and Culture (ITEC), which was formed by Pope Francis, and the Markkula Center at Santa Clara University collaborated to produce this handbook, which argues for the incorporation of moral values and ethical standards into both enterprises and technological systems.
However, even the likeness of the Pope has already been subjected to artificial intelligence technology. The capability of the technology to generate realistic simulations was demonstrated by the widespread dissemination of a deepfake image of Pope Francis that was developed by the Midjourney AI v5 and distributed on the internet in March of 2023.
Pope’s Call to Action
He urges humankind to decide whether we will become “fodder for algorithms or nourish our hearts with that freedom without which we cannot grow in wisdom.” Pope Francis has issued a call for collective action.
The Pope has a vision for the future in which artificial intelligence will be used for the goal of completely human communication, with the enduring wisdom of the human heart serving as the guiding principle.
He highlights that we can only successfully handle the challenges and opportunities posed by the ever-changing landscape of artificial intelligence (AI) by working together. This will ensure that the AI is in alignment with the ideals that define our humanity.