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All religions recognize the hand of God in creation and the order in creation. God as creator is the basic belief of all religions. Most religions believe that humans share life with God but teach that human beings are lower than God in wisdom and that our intelligence is much more limited in comparison with God. Judeo-Christian doctrines teach that God has appointed human beings to be co-creators with God, making us stewards of God’s creation. Human beings are superior creations of God and they are to be caretakers of God’s creation with the responsibility to care for it. Irenaeus, an early theologian of the Church would rightly say, “Glory of God is human beings fully alive.” This means that human beings should become utmost fruitful and employ all human potentiality to make the world a better place. It is the wisdom of the heart that makes humans understand their abilities and inabilities, potentialities and limitedness.

This wisdom of the heart points out that human beings should refrain from acts that degrade nature and the world around them. Uncontrolled manipulation and exploitation of creation to satisfy one’s greed and self-indulgence will only lead to self- destruction and endanger creation. Yet people continue to use and misuse the resources of nature to a breaking point. We, human beings have consumed and are consuming the resources of the world recklessly and thoughtlessly. Perhaps this is the death of the wisdom of the heart.

Though people have largely understood the enormous damage we have caused to the environment, we have not taken sufficient steps to control our appetite for material consumption. Often, human greed and pleasure-seeking hedonism rule the human heart and mind. We consider ourselves as very intelligent but becoming weaker in the wisdom of the heart. Almost daily, humans are advancing in science and technology. There is no limit to human imagination and creative power. In the process of innovation and entrepreneurship of material wealth, human beings often become slaves to the very technology they have created.

Human appetite for pleasure and anthropic-centric consciousness to control everything to one’s advantage often make humans blind to ethical values that moderate human living, care for others and creation and learning to live within acceptable means. It is the wisdom of the heart that moderates our activities of intelligence, using our intelligence rightly, especially for the promotion of the universe and every living organism beyond ourselves.

There are many questionable and contentious scientific advancements and practices that we are involved in, in the past decades. Some of them are: nuclear proliferation for war, genetic modification involving human procreation, activities against bio- diversity, excessive use of fossil energy, issues related to the beginning and end of human life and many others. Now, in recent years, scientists are racing into the creation of Artificial Intelligence. As the world is moving towards it at a break- neck speed, we are still figuring out what is right and what is wrong. Here, we need to employ the wisdom of the heart.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems. Specific applications of AI include; expert systems, natural language processing, special recognition and machine vision. Ethical issues always arise when human beings begin to interact with machines without the right ethical means and clear vision.

Often, we are just excited about the things machines do and how we can make a profit out of them. We overlook the negativity they cause and the harm they can create in an unimaginable proportion not just in empirical activities but also in socio-cultural aspects of life.

In all the scientific advancement, we need to ask, How can we remain fully human and guide this cultural transformation to serve a good purpose?

In the early 20th century, Romano Guardini prophetically said that in an attempt to create a new order we may fail to preserve the beautiful world and condemn it to disappear. And he warned that as we are constantly in the process of becoming, we need to be sensitive to the destruction we might cause to our very humanness. He said that in the new technical, scientific and political problems, the solution should be sought in every humanity. A new kind of human being must take shape, endowed with a deeper spirituality and new freedom and interiority.

Pope Francis in his recent message on Artificial Intelligence published on 24 January 2024 said, “We risk becoming rich

in technology and poor in humanity, our reflections must begin with the human heart. Only by adopting a spiritual way of viewing reality, only by recovering a wisdom of the heart, can we confront and interpret the newness of our time and rediscover the path to a fully human communication.”

Pope Francis stresses, “… it is our Biblical and Christian belief that the heart is seen as the place of freedom and decision-making. It symbolizes integrity and unity, but it also engages our emotions, desires, and dreams; it is, above all, the inward place of our encounter with God. Wisdom of the heart, then, is the virtue that enables us to integrate the whole and its parts, our decisions and their consequences, our nobility and our vulnerability, our past and our future, our individuality and our membership within a larger community.”

The earliest sin of humankind is to “become like God”. Satan, the father of evil, deceived the first humans so that they could become like God and later the people wanted to build a tower to reach the heavens to challenge God. As the sacred myth puts it, they lost their glory and they were scattered. If we do not keep our machines and technology in their proper place and purpose, we suffer the consequence of being deceived and scattered.

Artificial means pretending, false, stimulated, unnatural, and even fake. The data processed by machines is certainly devoid of humanness emotional, spiritless and detached from all social bonds and forgetful of our status as creatures. Now, taking them as certain is putting ourselves in peril. In the use of AI, we ought to respect the dignity of individual people, connect with other people sincerely, openly and inclusively care for the well-being of everyone, and protect social values, justice and the public interest. Hence we need the wisdom of the heart to put AI in its right place

Fr. Lazar Arasu SDB

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