Pope's communications day message to focus on impact of AI development

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis' message for World Communications Day 2024 will look at ways to ensure artificial intelligence is a tool that helps people communicate better and not a technology that drives people further from each other and from what is true.

"Artificial intelligence and wisdom of the heart: for a fully human communication" is the theme Pope Francis has chosen for the 2024 commemoration, the Vatican Dicastery for Communication announced Sept. 29.

Traditionally the pope's message for the day is released Jan. 24, the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of journalists. Most diocese will celebrate the world day May 12, the Sunday before Pentecost.

Announcing the theme chosen by the pope, the dicastery said that "the evolution of artificial intelligence systems makes it ever more natural to communicate through and with machines, so that it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish computation from thought and the language produced by a machine from that generated by human beings."

And while the technological developments bring many benefits, they also pose "new challenges to ensure that machines do not contribute to a large-scale system of disinformation and do not also increase the loneliness of those who are already alone, depriving us of the warmth that only communication between people can provide."

Echoing Pope Francis' repeated endorsement for the development of "algo-ethics" to protect individuals and promote the common good, the dicastery said, "It is important to guide artificial intelligence and algorithms, so that there is in each individual a responsible awareness of the use and development of these different forms of communication that go hand in hand with social media and the internet."