Pilot testing 'Policy Guidance on AI for Children'
Case studies | Gathering real experiences from the field
4 minute read
In the UNICEF Policy Guidance on AI for Children we invited all governments and companies to pilot the guidance and openly share their findings about how it was used, and what worked and what did not. These real experiences from the field can inform and improve future versions of the guidance and inspire others to implement more child-centred AI. In this spirit, UNICEF is working with a diverse group of government and business “pilot partners”, identified with the support of our network and partners and based on their interest in bringing a child-centred lens into their AI policies and practices. Their findings are being documented as case studies to be published on our site between August and November 2021.
The following initiatives were selected to illustrate a range of contexts in which AI systems and policies could be more child-centred. The aim for each pilot organization is to document how the policy guidance was used and, where possible, measure the resulting change in the form of a case study. The approaches taken, lessons learned and insights gathered will be one contribution to the global effort towards AI policies and systems that support children’s development. Please visit this page in the coming months for further updates and details on the project.
The CrimeDetector system, developed by the Finnish start-up SomeBuddy, helps support children in Finland and Sweden aged 7–18 who have potentially experienced online harassment. When children report incidents, such as cyberbullying, the system automatically analyzes the case using natural language processing and provides tailored legal and psychological guidance for the affected child, with the aid of a human-in-the-loop. The digital service has been conceived with the insights of social media experts and psychologists, child-rights experts and lawyers, and was also built through active co-creation with children. SomeBuddy’s objective is to provide support in all unpleasant and conflictual situations that children may face on social media platforms and help define when these situations constitute a crime.
The psychiatry department at Helsinki University Hospital has developed Milli, an AI-powered chatbot on Mentalhub.fi, which uses natural language processing to connect users in Finland with helpful mental health information and medical providers. Milli was created through the multi-year work of interdisciplinary experts and practitioners, including psychologists, mental health experts, nurses and AI and design engineers. While the service targets users aged 12 and above, the team has focused on providing tailored mental health support to users aged 12–19. The chatbot allows users to anonymously ask questions about the mental health issues they may be facing and has been designed and continuously improved through an iterative and inclusive process involving adolescent end-users.
Forthcoming case studies
As Sweden is increasingly moving to embed smart technologies into governmental processes to enhance transparency, accessibility and productivity, the cities of Lund, Malmö and Helsingborg are working together to find appropriate ways to translate existing legislation and policies to benefit child rights across multiple cities, municipalities and regions in Sweden.
The global retail chain H&M will work to integrate greater awareness and focus on children’s rights in their Responsible AI Checklist, a tool that is utilized by their product teams and product owners, machine learning engineers, data specialists and others involved in developing or using AI capabilities within the company.
The London based Turing Institute will utilize the draft policy guidance as a tool to engage with and inform the UK government, civil society and the public on the topic of AI and children. Their aim is to encourage civil servants who are interested in conducting AI projects to consider child-related AI ethics and safety as a first priority.
AutismVR is a virtual reality experience, from the Nigerian based start-up Imìsí 3D, that is intended to raise awareness and teach people how to interact with children on the autistic spectrum. The system utilizes natural language processing and is aimed at those who interact with pre-adolescent children on the autistic spectrum, including older children, caregivers and teachers.
The Haru robot project aims to investigate approaches in AI and empathetic communication through the design of robot behaviours that promote child rights with a special focus on fairness and explainability. We aim to include children in all phases of the design process and to explore their needs, perceptions and behaviours in relation to social robots designed to interact with children in various settings.
The Government of Chile’s Ministry of Social Development has created a Childhood Early Alert System to prevent violations of children’s rights by identifying and prioritizing children and teenagers who demonstrate high risk factors. This preventive tool seeks to deploy early interventions to protect children’s rights.
The Department of Human Services in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania has developed HelloBaby, an initiative that employs a predictive risk model for families in the area. It calculates the risk of a newborn child being removed from their home and placed in foster care within the first three years of life, and informs County responses.