Communication in the age of Artificial Intelligence, by Paul Nwosu


Communication is the key to civilization. In its true essence as the dissemination of information and ideas, communication holds the society together.  From the beginning of time, the world has always depended on verbal and non-verbal communication to foster the progress of mankind.

The impact of communications on global economics and politics is a theme that can hardly ever be exhausted.

Fixating for starters on the subject of journalism, it is crucial to underscore that committed communication played a crucial role in the struggle for Nigerian independence. The founding fathers of the country such as Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo had to establish the  West African Pilot and Nigerian Tribune newspapers respectively to drive the messages of the liberation of the country to the British colonizers.

Communication has exploded exponentially in the digital age. The internet has doubled the size of the world, and the worldwide web is where everybody lives now. Social media can hardly ever be done without by anybody existing in the world today. The new rage happens to be Artificial Intelligence, aka AI.     

Communication is such a crucial aspect of the lived life that the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) initiated the annual Communications Week (ComWeek) in 2022. ComWeek which was first celebrated in May 2022 is targeted at growing media literacy for discipleship.

ComWeek is an expansion of the one-day World Communications Day (WCD) established by Pope Paul VI in 1967. The Nigerian Bishops extended the programme to run for a week being conscious of the important and enormous challenges of the media and communications at large to the Church and modern society, particularly in the present digital age.  

It is specially fitting that this year’s ComWeek has the theme: “Artificial Intelligence and Wisdom of Heart: For a Fully Human Communication.” In the one-week of enlightenment through ComWeek 2024, profound ideas will be shared as follows: “Understanding the Basics of Artificial Intelligence; Prospects and Challenges of AI for Evangelisation; Ethical Considerations of Artificial Intelligence; Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Education; Artificial Intelligence and the Risk of Deepfakes; Introducing the Magisterium AI; Artificial Intelligence for Catechesis.”

Artificial Intelligence has become a factor of our lives. There is no running away from it. AI is now being put to use in government, industry and science. The societal and economic shift towards automation is being strongly aided by AI. Communication and AI are closely related fields that cannot but influence one another. AI can quickly absorb extraordinary amounts of information that can affect how people communicate across board. With AI in place, communication has been enormously broadened and it is incumbent on us all to try to keep pace.

There is the crying need for man to ensure that Artificial Intelligence does not in the end displace the wisdom of heart. Machines can go so far, but what determines human survival is the application of the intelligence gained from the computer systems. The thinking human being of course should know when to apply the brakes. It’s not every artificial knowledge that is helpful to man.

The ongoing integration of AI into multiform economic sectors and sundry areas of life such as government, industry, healthcare, education and job markets should be handled with utmost caution and application. Human beings ought not to be displaced by robots. 

The long-term effects and ethical implications of AI ought to be addressed in order not to bring disaster upon humankind. The risks of AI should be seen as clear and present dangers demanding regulatory policies to ensure the safety and benefits of the technology.

By tackling the pressing matter of Artificial Intelligence, the 2024 ComWeek programme indeed offers tremendous benefits to the younger generation who aspire to become communication professionals in the brave new future.     

  • PAUL NWOSU is the commissioner for Information, Anambra State
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