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Artificial intelligence at service of humankind

In the Pope Video for November 2020, the Holy Father calls our attention to the epochal change that humanity is experiencing thanks to advances in artificial intelligence. For Francis, this progress should always “serve humankind,” respecting human dignity and taking care of Creation. This month’s video was made with the support of Enel, a multinational energy company and one of the principal players in world markets for energy, gas, and renewable energy.

It is not news that, in recent years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has advanced exponentially, as evidenced by its many applications in different fields of knowledge. Today, 37% of organizations in the world have implemented AI in some way (which represents a 270% increase in the past four years).

Pope Francis clarifies that this progress, as well as that in robotics, “can make a better world possible if it is joined to the common good.” In this sense, he hopes for technological progress that does not increase the inequalities in society; if it does, it will not be “true progress,” one that takes into account the dignity of the human person and care for Creation.

Artificial intelligence is capable of addressing many problems facing humanity: among others, it can evaluate the learning capacity of students, in order to detect opportunities for improvement; it can help people with visual or hearing impairments by developing better communication tools (such as converting text to speech or speech to text); and it can speed up the collection, processing and diffusion of health data to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients, especially those living in remote areas.

The same applies in the field of ecology: for example, thanks to artificial intelligence, it’s possible to analyze data on climate change and create models that can help predict natural disasters. It also can be used to create intelligent and sustainable cities: by reducing urban spending, improving the resilience of highways and increasing energy efficiency, among other things. There are vast possibilities for using this technological progress for the common good, and this video, put together using images from Enel and the Italian Institute of Technology, shows some of them.

Click on the video link to watch The Pope Video.