CV NEWS FEED // Pope Francis warned about the dangers of artificial intelligence in a recent message ahead of World Day of Social Communications, calling the rise of AI both “exciting” and “disorienting.”
“The development of systems of artificial intelligence … is radically affecting the world of information and communication, and through it, certain foundations of life in society,” Francis wrote. “How can we remain fully human and guide this cultural transformation to serve a good purpose?”
Francis said that the solution is to reflect on the heart of humanity, which is wisdom given to us by God alone.
“Only by adopting a spiritual way of viewing reality, only by recovering a wisdom of the heart, can we confront and interpret the newness of our time and rediscover the path to a fully human communication,” he wrote, adding that “such wisdom cannot be sought from machines.”
Francis also said that AI also provides humans with the opportunity to try “to become like God without God.”
“Our very bodies, created for communication and communion, can become a means of aggression,” he wrote. “So too, every technical extension of our humanity can be a means of loving service or of hostile domination.”
AI has already posed several threats to community and human values, from a viral deepfaked image of Pope Francis himself last year to AI-generated pornographic images of real people to the possibility of generating false but believable messages that threaten international relations.
While Francis acknowledged that AI also has the potential to be used well, it also makes humans out of touch with reality by placing them in digital “echo chambers.”
“In such cases, rather than increasing a pluralism of information, we risk finding ourselves adrift in a mire of confusion, prey to the interests of the market or of the powers that be,” he wrote.
“The representation of reality in “big data”, however useful for the operation of machines, ultimately entails a substantial loss of the truth of things, hindering interpersonal communication and threatening our very humanity,” he continued:
Information cannot be separated from living relationships. These involve the body and immersion in the real world; they involve correlating not only data but also human experiences; they require sensitivity to faces and facial expressions, compassion and sharing.
It is up to us to decide whether we will become fodder for algorithms or will nourish our hearts with that freedom without which we cannot grow in wisdom.