Pope Francis revealed that the theme for the 58th World Communications Day in 2024 will focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its impact on humanity.
The announcement was made on September 29, the Feast of the Archangels, and the full message will be released on January 24, the Feast of St. Francis de Sales, the Patron of Catholic Journalists.
The pontiff said the advancement of AI blurs the lines between human communication and communication with machines, making it increasingly challenging to differentiate between machine-generated language and human thought.
Fr. George Plathottam, executive secretary of the Office of Social Communications of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences, said this new “revolution” in communication has its pros and cons.
“[It] poses 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,” he said.
The priest said guiding artificial intelligence and algorithms is of paramount importance to cultivate responsible awareness in individuals regarding the use and evolution of these various communication tools closely intertwined with social media and the Internet.
He added that such guidance is essential to steer communication towards enriching the overall quality of human life.
The World Day of Communications was instituted by the Second Vatican Council with the aim of emphasizing and promoting the significance of social communication within the Church and society.
This day is commemorated annually on the Sunday preceding Pentecost in dioceses and episcopal conferences, marked by a range of activities, including liturgical and pastoral events, study seminars, and discussions centered around the chosen theme.