AI for children
Featured project | Exploring how to embed child rights in the governing policies of artificial intelligence
Recent progress in the development of artificial intelligence (AI) systems, unprecedented amounts of data to train algorithms, and increased computing power are expected to profoundly impact life and work in the 21st century, raising both hopes and concerns for human development.
However, despite the growing interest in AI, little attention is paid to how it will affect children and their rights.
Most national AI strategies and major ethical guidelines make only cursory mention of children and their specific needs. For country policies, references to children are usually about preparing them as a future AI workforce. But as children increasingly use or are affected by AI systems in everyday situations — from playing with robotic toys that listen, observe and talk, to interacting with voice assistants — the lack of attention on the opportunities and risks that AI systems hold for children is growing.
To help fill this gap, the Office of Global Insight and Policy is leading a two-year project to explore approaches to protecting and upholding child rights in an evolving AI world. We are supported by and partnering with the Government of Finland, and collaborating with the IEEE Standards Association, the Berkman Klein Centre for Internet & Society, the World Economic Forum, the 5Rights Foundation and other organizations that form part of Generation AI.
As part of the AI and Children policy project, UNICEF hosted a series of workshops around the world to gain regional perspectives on AI systems and children. These conversations helped UNICEF develop a draft policy guidance on how to promote children’s development in AI strategies and practices. The guidance aims to bring a balanced perspective to the policy table with clear, usable principles for implementing AI that supports child rights.
We are grateful for the ongoing input of our expert advisory group members who are helping to shape the project and policy guidance.
Responsible AI and AI for Good Lead, PwC UK
Head of the Regional Center for Studies on the Development of the Information Society (Cetic.br/NIC.br)
Fellow, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, World Economic Forum
Director of Youth and Media, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University
Professor of Responsible Artificial Intelligence, Umeå University
Head of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, World Economic Forum
Executive Director, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University
John C. Havens
Executive Director, IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous & Intelligent Systems
Independent Digital Learning Specialist and Associate Professor of Practice, University of Johannesburg
Baroness Beeban Kidron
Founder, 5Rights Foundation; House of Lords
Development Director, UNICEF Finland
Senior Director, IEEE Standards Association
This project is made possible by funding and technical support from the Ministry of Foreign of Affairs, Finland. We are grateful for their continued partnership and commitment to child rights.