‘Artificial intelligence and wisdom of the heart: for a fully human communication’: this is the theme of the Social Communications Day to be celebrated worldwide on Sunday 12 May 2024. ‘Information cannot be separated from the existential relationship,’ explains Pope Francis in his Address for the Day, ‘it implies the body, being in reality; it asks to relate not only data, but experiences; it demands the face, the gaze, compassion as well as sharing’: this is the case of the telling of wars and that ‘parallel war’ that is made through disinformation campaigns; it is the case of the wounded reporters or those who have lost their lives in the field to allow us to see what their eyes have seen. ‘Because it is only by touching the suffering of children, women and men that we can understand the absurdity of wars’.

‘The use of artificial intelligence will be able to make a positive contribution in the field of communication, if it does not annul the role of journalism in the field, but on the contrary will flank it’, the Pope maintains: ‘if it enhances the professionalism of communication, making every communicator responsible; if it restores to every human being the role of subject, with critical capacity, of communication itself’. Hence Pope Francis’ renewed appeal to the community of nations “to work together to adopt a binding international treaty regulating the development and use of artificial intelligence in its many forms”.

While Artificial Intelligence (AI) can bring great opportunities, it is significant not to overlook its criticalities. The debate on AI and its applications in education and communication is central. Hence the urgency of new research, supported by critical thinking, a solid information culture and inspired by an ethics of responsibility, which can be translated into coherent and conscious ‘digital’ citizenship behaviour.