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January 1, World Peace Day

Artificial intelligence for the common good

01 January 2024

In his message for the 57th World Day of Peace, established by Paul VI in 1968, Pope Francis drew attention to the risks and opportunities that Artificial Intelligence poses to the whole of humanity. The Pontiff wonders about the consequences that digital technologies can have, in the medium and long term, on individuals and society, on international balances and on peace in the world.

If intelligence is an expression of the dignity given to humanity by God, artificial "forms of intelligence" are born from humans to reproduce or imitate their cognitive abilities, but sometimes with objectives and interests that are not directed to the common good. Pope Francis writes: "We cannot presume a priori that its development will make a beneficial contribution to the future of humanity and to peace amongst peoples. Such a positive outcome will only be possible if we demonstrate our ability to act responsibly and respect fundamental human values such as inclusion, transparency, security, fairness, confidentiality and trustworthiness."

The ethical theme of the question is clear to the Holy Father: can algorithms ever replace the merciful love of God, who knows how to forgive unlike a schematic calculation? "Algorithms must not be allowed to determine how we understand human rights, to set aside the essential values of compassion, mercy and forgiveness, or to eliminate the possibility of an individual changing and leaving the past behind," the text reads. 

The invitation then is to pay attention to the purposes of the use of scientific and technological knowledge: in a perspective full of Franciscan spirituality, Pope Francis emphasizes the importance of safeguarding fundamental human rights, social justice and the common good: "The rapid development of forms of artificial intelligence does not increase the too many inequalities and injustices already present in the world, but may it help to put an end to wars and conflicts, and to alleviate many forms of suffering that afflict the human family. May the Christian faithful, believers of various religions, and men and women of good will work together in harmony to seize the opportunities and face the challenges posed by the digital revolution, and hand over to future generations a world of greater solidarity, justice and peace," the Pope concludes. 

Let us entrust to Mary, Mother of God, whom we celebrate to-day, our intentions and our works in this New Year for a world of  Peace and Goodwill!

Read the Pope’s Message

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