Artificial Intelligence and Children
The present generation is history's very first “AI” generation. Children are living in the age where they converse with Alexa and play with robot playmates. They are born in the age of the world increasingly powered by virtual reality and artificial intelligence (AI). This brings in the need to protect their rights, privacy, and well-being in digital environments just as they are in the physical world.
Changes brought in by the Artificial Intelligence in the normal life:
It has not only changed the task that humans used to perform but our behaviours, our preferences, our perceptions of the world and of ourselves.
DIGITAL DIVIDE: Internet accessibility is the biggest hurdle for the children to tap the opportunities offered by the AI. According to the reports of the UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), around two-thirds of the world’s children do not have access to the Internet at home.
CREATION OF A CHILD PROOF DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT: we need to create an environment which encourages the growth and development of the children and at the same time protect the children from the harm and potential threats of artificial intelligence.
Presently children of every age group have access to Internet and social media which now is an imperative due to the push given to the already flourishing sector of digital education by the lockdown imposed as a consequence of the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
In the growth years when an individual starts developing its perspective regarding the world and the society, the very nature of social media of feeding the same kind of news to a reader aids in developing a biased and skewed narrative instead of a rational and balanced one. He/she is less likely to appreciate the beauty of the difference of the opinion.
What needs to be done?
We have double imperatives in hand to meet which includes getting all children on-line and creating child-safe digital spaces
Creation of safe digital spaces: It requires a multi pronged action plan which includes:
Legal and technological safeguards
Spreading greater awareness among parents, guardians and children on how AI works in reality.
Certain tools need to be created like trustworthy certification and rating systems in order to enable sound choices on safe AI apps.
Banning anonymous accounts.
Enforceable ethical principles of non-discrimination and fairness embedded in the policy and design of AI systems.
Do “no harm” risk assessments for all algorithms that interact with children or their data.
There is a need to ensure restricted profiling and data collection.
We need to equip the citizens with the knowledge, tools and awareness to protect themselves from any kind of threats posed by technology.
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child adopted General Comment 25, on implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child and fulfilling all children’s rights in the digital environment.
The policies that are being implemented by the government of India in the Physical world needs to be implemented in the digital space as well, such as National Policy for Children (2013).
In the age of globalisation and interconnected world the more we could agree multilaterally and by multi-stakeholder groups on such policies, the easier it may be to implement nationally and locally.