1 JANUARY 2024

Artificial Intelligence and Peace.

At the beginning of the New Year, a time of grace which the Lord gives to each one of us, I would like to address God’s People, the various nations, heads of state and government, the leaders of the different religions and civil society, and all the men and women of our time, in order to offer my fervent good wishes for peace.

The progress of science and technology as a path to peace Sacred Scripture attests that God bestowed his Spirit upon human beings so that they might have “skill and understanding and knowledge in every craft” (Ex 35:31).

Human intelligence is an expression of the dignity with which we have been endowed by the Creator, who made us in his own image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:26), and enabled us to respond consciously and freely to his love. In a particular way, science and technology manifest this fundamentally relational quality of human intelligence; they are brilliant products of its creative potential.

In its Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, the Second Vatican Council restated this truth, declaring that “through its labours and its native endowments, humanity has ceaselessly sought to better its life”.  When human beings, “with the aid of technology”, endeavour to make “the earth a dwelling worthy of the whole human family”,] they carry out God’s plan and cooperate with his will to perfect creation and bring about peace among peoples.

Progress in science and technology, insofar as it contributes to greater order in human society and greater fraternal communion and freedom, thus leads to the betterment of humanity and the transformation of the world.

We rightly rejoice and give thanks for the impressive achievements of science and technology, as a result of which countless ills that formerly plagued human life and caused great suffering have been remedied. At the same time, techno-scientific advances, by making it possible to exercise hitherto unprecedented control over reality, are placing in human hands a vast array of options, including some that may pose a risk to our survival and endanger our common home.

The remarkable advances in new information technologies, particularly in the digital sphere, thus offer exciting opportunities and grave risks, with serious implications for the pursuit of justice and harmony among peoples. Any number of urgent questions need to be asked.

What will be the consequences, in the medium and long term, of these new digital technologies? And what impact will they have on individual lives and on societies, on international stability and peace?