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58th World Communications Day

5 eventMonday, 27 May 2024

Artificial Intelligence and the Wisdom of the Heart: Towards a Fully Human Communication

 

Dear brothers and sisters!

The development of systems of artificial intelligence, to which I devoted my recent Message for the World Day of Peace, is radically affecting the world of information and communication, and through it, certain foundations of life in society. These changes affect everyone, not merely professionals in those fields. The rapid spread of astonishing innovations, whose workings and potential are beyond the ability of most of us to understand and appreciate, has proven both exciting and disorienting. This leads inevitably to deeper questions about the nature of human beings, our distinctiveness and the future of the species homo sapiens in the age of artificial intelligence. How can we remain fully human and guide this cultural transformation to serve a good purpose?

Starting with the heart

Before all else, we need to set aside catastrophic predictions and their numbing effects. A century ago, Romano Guardini reflected on technology and humanity. Guardini urged us not to reject “the new” in an attempt to “preserve a beautiful world condemned to disappear”. At the same time, he prophetically warned that “we are constantly in the process of becoming. We must enter into this process, each in his or her own way, with openness but also with sensitivity to everything that is destructive and inhumane therein”. And he concluded: “These are technical, scientific and political problems, but they cannot be resolved except by starting from our humanity. A new kind of human being must take shape, endowed with a deeper spirituality and new freedom and interiority”. [1]

At this time in history, which risks becoming rich in technology and poor in humanity, our reflections must begin with the human heart. [2] 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. In the Bible, the heart is seen as the place of freedom and decision-making. It symbolizes integrity and unity, but it also engages our emotions, desires, dreams; it is, above all, the inward place of our encounter with God. Wisdom of the heart, then, is the virtue that enables us to integrate the whole and its parts, our decisions and their consequences, our nobility and our vulnerability, our past and our future, our individuality and our membership within a larger community.

This wisdom of the heart lets itself be found by those who seek it and be seen by those who love it; it anticipates those who desire it and it goes in search of those who are worthy of it (cf. Wis 6:12-16). It accompanies those willing to take advice (cf. Prov 13:10), those endowed with a docile and listening heart (cf. 1 Kg 3:9). A gift of the Holy Spirit, it enables us to look at things with God’s eyes, to see connections, situations, events and to uncover their real meaning. Without this kind of wisdom, life becomes bland, since it is precisely wisdom – whose Latin root sapere is related to the noun sapor – that gives “savour” to life.

 

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