For the month of November, published by the Pope’s World Prayer Network, Francis reflects on the progress of artificial intelligence, recalling the need for it to always be oriented “towards respect for the dignity of the person and of Creation ”
Adriana Masotti – Vatican City
A rapid development which is not free from risks and negative consequences if it is not governed by taking into account the centrality of the human being. This is what characterizes artificial intelligence, a crucial technological field in today’s society for which the Pope asks prayers of the faithful around the world.
The Pope: progress must serve the common good
In the video intended for prayer which he entrusts to the Church for the month of November, Francis notes, speaking in Spanish, that “artificial intelligence is at the base of the change of times that we are living”. And he continues: “Robotics can make a better world possible if it is combined with the common good. Because if technological progress increases inequalities, it is not real progress ”. The Pope therefore indicates the way forward by recalling that “future progress must be oriented towards respect for the dignity of the person and of creation”. The invocation suggested is that of not losing sight of humanity. François says: “Let us pray that the progress of robotics and artificial intelligence will always be at the service of human beings”, or rather “be human”.
Advances in artificial intelligence
In the statement released by the Pope’s Global Prayer Network, which promotes this initiative monthly, Francis’s words are contextualized: “It is nothing new – we read – that in recent years Artificial Intelligence (AI) has progressed to an exponential level, as evidenced by its multiple applications in various fields of knowledge. Today, 37% of global organizations have implemented AI in one way or another, with an increase of 270% over the past four years ”. Artificial intelligence is capable of solving many questions. The press release lists some of them, such as assessing students’ learning ability, helping people with disabilities to develop better communication tools, and facilitating the collection and dissemination of health information to improve diagnosis and treatment. Its applications are also important in the ecological field: data on climate change can be analyzed to predict natural disasters. It can also be used to create sustainable cities, with lower urban costs and increased energy efficiency.
There is a need to ensure opportunities and well-being for all
The possibilities of using progress for the common good are enormous and the Pope’s video, made with footage from Enel and the Italian Institute of Technology, shows some of them. “It is our task to ensure – says Enel CEO Francesco Starace – that, as Pope Francis repeats, the resulting benefits are equitably distributed and generate opportunities and well-being. To positively orient our action and our choices regarding the present and the future, it is necessary to focus on respect for people and the environment, by adopting a vision based on sustainability. It is only in this way that technological development can be the ally of mankind and generate opportunities that we could not even have imagined a few years ago ”.
Progress and responsibility must go hand in hand
“The transformation of our companies is also transforming our work. These are rapid changes that must be accompanied so that they are for the good of all ”, observes Father Frédéric Fornos SJ, international director of the Pope’s World Prayer Network. For Father Fornos, Francis’ prayer intention “reinforces the idea that the benefit humanity has obtained, and that it will continue to obtain from technological progress, must always consider, in parallel, an adequate development. responsibility and values ”. Artificial intelligence, robotics and other technological applications, says Father Fornos, open great challenges for ethics and social justice. For this, he concludes, “the Pope’s request is important: to pray that progress will always be human”.
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