Purpose of Pope’s November Prayer: Progress in Robotics and AI “Being Human”

In his video message on the intention of his prayer for November, Pope Francis insisted that progress in robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) be “oriented towards respecting the dignity of the individual and creation”.

By staff writer of Vatican News

During the month of November, Pope Francis drew our attention to the era change humanity is experiencing for advances in artificial intelligence. Therefore, he invites us to pray that this progress will always “serve mankind,” honor human dignity and take care of creation.

True progress

Artificial intelligence (AI) has made exponential progress, as indicated by its many applications in various fields of knowledge. Today, 37% of the world’s organizations have implemented AI in some way (representing a 270% increase over the last four years).

In “The Pope Video” this month, Pope Francis clarifies that this advancement in robotics and AI can “make a better world possible if it joins the common good.” In this sense, he hopes for technological progress that does not increase inequalities in society. If this happens, the Pope says, it will not be “true progress”. Such progress does not take into account the dignity of the human person and takes care of creation.


AI is able to address many problems facing humanity, such as to evaluate students’ learning abilities, so that opportunities for improvement can be explored. It can help people with visual or hearing impairments by developing better communication tools (such as converting text to speech or speech to text). AI can also accelerate the collection, processing, and dissemination of health data to improve diagnosis and treatment of patients, especially those living in remote areas.

The same applies to the field of ecology. Through AI it is possible to analyze data on climate change and create models that can help predict natural disasters. It can be used to create intelligent and sustainable cities by reducing urban expenses, improving the flexibility of highways and increasing energy efficiency. There are wide possibilities to use this technological advancement for the common good, and “The Pope Video” uses images from the Italian Institute of Technology and the Italian multinational energy company, Enel, to show some of these benefits.

Serve humanity

“Innovation”, says Enel’s CEO, Francesco Starus, “Our nature is placed on the extraordinary tools we need to be able to use in the best possible way.”

He continues, “As Pope Francis affirms, it is our job to ensure that the resulting benefits are distributed impartially and create opportunities and well-being.” “To give a positive orientation to our actions and choices in relation to the present and the future, we must respect people and the environment at the center,” says Stars. Only in this way can technological development be an ally of humanity and create opportunities that we could not even imagine until a few years ago. “

The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network is responsible for spreading the Pope’s monthly prayer intentions. In comments on the intention of the Holy Father’s Prayer for November, the network’s international director, Jesuit Father Frédéric Fornos, also speaks of the need to channel these rapid technological changes for the “good of all”.

“The intention of this month’s prayer,” he says, “reinforces the idea that the benefits that humanity has gained (and will continue to receive) from technological progress must always be kept in mind, and in parallel, responsibility. And substantial development of values. ‘”This, says Fra Fernos, is underlined by the Pope in his encyclopedia Lodato Si ‘ And now in his third encyclopedia, Fratelli Tutti, Where he says, “How wonderful it would be if scientific and technological innovation could grow with greater equality and social inclusion!”

AI, robotics, and other applications of technology, Fr Fournos says, pose major challenges for ethics and social justice. “This is why the Pope’s most recent petition is important: to pray that this progress will always be ‘human.”

November 2020 Lesson of Prayer Intent:

Artificial intelligence is at the center of the transformation of the era that we are experiencing. Robotics can make a better world possible if it joins the common good. In fact, if technological progress increases inequalities, it is not a right progress. Future advances should be oriented towards respecting the dignity of the individual and creation.

Let us pray that the advancement of robotics and artificial intelligence can always serve mankind … We can say, “It can be human.”


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