30 November 2023

AI for children

AI systems are fundamentally changing the world and affecting present and future generations of children. Children are already interacting with AI technologies in many different ways: they are embedded in toys, virtual assistants, video games, and adaptive learning software. Algorithms provide recommendations to children on what videos to watch…, Global Forum on AI for Children, UNICEF held this virtual event on November 30 – December 1, 2021 to discuss practical approaches to child-centred AI policies and systems. The event gathered children’s rights and technology experts, policymakers, practitioners and researchers, as well as children active in the AI space.  Read more about the event ., Policy guidance, UNICEF’s  policy guidance  describes the importance of promoting children’s development in AI strategies and practices and offers practical recommendations for governments and industry. The guidance aims to bring a balanced perspective to the policy table with usable principles for implementing AI that supports child rights. Version 2.0 is now…, Pilot testing, We worked with a diverse group of governments and businesses to pilot the policy guidance and illustrate a range of contexts in which AI systems and policies could be more child-centred. The aim for each pilot organization was to document how the policy guidance was used and describe the resulting journey in the form of a case study. The…, Consultation workshops, The guidance was developed through a broad consultation process comprised of 14 regional workshops with experts and children, a global survey, and a review of national AI strategies.  New York, United States June 2019 Helsinki, Finland November 2019 Cape Town, South Africa February 2020 São Paulo, Brazil March 2020 Bangkok, Thailand June 2020, Project highlights, Advisory group, We are grateful for the ongoing input of our expert advisory group members who are helping to shape the project and policy guidance. Maria Axente Responsible AI and AI for Good Lead, PwC UK Alexandre Barbosa Head of the Regional Center for Studies on the Development of the Information Society (Cetic.br/NIC.br) Seth Bergeson Fellow, Artificial…, Stay connected, Sign up to receive the project newsletter and version 2.0 of the policy guidance. 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. Logo of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Finland
30 November 2023

Pilot testing 'Policy Guidance on AI for Children'

This work is part of UNICEF's AI for children AI for Children project .  4 minute read We invited governments and companies to pilot test  UNICEF's Policy Guidance on AI for Children  and openly share how it was used, and what worked and what did not. Real experiences from the field can inform and improve future versions of the guidance as well as…, Case studies, SomeBuddy Cover Image CrimeDetector: SomeBuddy, 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…, Helsinki University Hospital Cover Image Milli chatbot: Helsinki University Hospital, 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,…, Imìsí 3D cover image Imìsí 3D: AutismVR, AutismVR is a virtual reality game developed by the Nigerian-based start-up, Imìsí 3D, alongside a team of interdisciplinary experts, to help young users and adults simulate interactions with children affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The game, which utilizes AI techniques, is designed for non-autistic young users and adults, notably…, Hello Baby thumbnail image Hello Baby: Allegheny County Department of Human Services, The Allegheny County Department of Human Services developed Hello Baby, an AI-driven early-childhood maltreatment prevention initiative, with the aim to more efficiently address families’ complex needs, improve children’s outcomes, and maximize child and family well-being, safety and security. Whenever a child is born in Allegheny County, the goal…, H&M Group cover image Responsible AI Framework: H&M Group, The fashion retailer, H&M Group, is increasingly relying on AI capabilities to help improve its supply chains, benefit customers and reach its sustainability goals. In order to do so ethically, the company's Responsible AI team developed a framework that rests on nine key Responsible AI Principles. The Principles are practically applied…, UNICEF-Global-Insight-HRI-JP-JRC-Cover-2021 Honda Research Institute Japan & European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Haru is a prototype robot that aims to stimulate the cognitive development, creativity, problem-solving and collaborative skills of children aged 6 to 18. Researchers from the Honda Research Institute Japan and European Commission, Joint Research Centre worked with a global consortium of experts with knowledge in the fields of AI, robotics, ethics…, UNICEF-Global-Insight-Alan-Turing-Institute-Cover Understanding AI ethics and safety - A guide for the public sector: The Alan Turing Institute, The Alan Turing Institute is updating and expanding its public policy guide Understanding artificial intelligence ethics and safety , to give public sector employees a better practical understanding of how to design responsible AI for children. This capacity building effort aims to formulate ethical considerations to support the development of AI…, UNICEF-Global-Insight-AI-Sweden-Cover-2021 Policy for child-centric AI for the cities of Lund, Malmö and Helsingborg: AI Sweden, AI Sweden, Lund University, aiRikr Innovation and Mobile Heights worked with the Swedish municipalities of Helsingborg, Lund and Malmö, to evaluate UNICEF’s policy guidance against AI-related projects in these three cities. These projects included applying child-centred AI to an AI chatbot companion for preschoolers, translating child-centred AI…
01 December 2021

Global Forum on AI for Children

About the event, This work is part of UNICEF's  AI for Children project .  For the past two years, UNICEF and the Government of Finland have  partnered  to better understand how artificial intelligence (AI) systems can protect, provide for and empower children. On 30 November and 1 December 2021, we jointly hosted a virtual Global Forum on AI for Children, which…, The event in numbers, 71, speakers (over 60 per cent women) from 22 countries, 450, attendees from over 30 countries, 300+, tweets on #ai4children, 60+ , resources shared by participants, 514, one-to-one chat messages between participants, 7, illustrated summaries of the plenary sessions, 10 key takeaways, Experts from around the world met to share diverse perspectives on effective AI policies and strategies, the future of child-friendly AI, and how AI impacts on key areas such as learning, health, play and child safety. The following are key messages and takeaways from these rich discussions:, 1. Making AI work for children is urgent business., Children interact with AI systems every day, through social media, games and learning apps. AI influences their online activities, development and worldview. AI also impacts children indirectly, such as when their educational futures or parents’ access to public services are decided by algorithms. And yet, as the participants pointed out, children…, 2. People are responsible for creating and shaping AI systems for children., Professor Virginia Dignum articulated that behind every algorithmic decision about children is a human: “AI is not artificial – it is based on real data and real human effort, uses energy and affects our world in many different ways; AI is not intelligent – or able to understand the meaning of the very good predictions it can make; and AI is not…, 3. There are many ways in which corporations and governments can make AI work for children., Participants suggested actions that can be taken by corporate leaders, product managers, researchers and policymakers. These include providing training on child rights for AI development teams as part of their onboarding (and ideally before that at the university level), establishing mechanisms to assess products before they are launched (e.g.…, 4. “If we're making decisions on AI for children, we need to be including children.”, So said Alisha Arora, Youth Ambassador for UNICEF. Children’s voices must be heard directly, instead of only the voices of adults, as demonstrated in the AutismVR case study in Nigeria. Engagement of children by stakeholders involved in the design, development and governance of AI systems and policies needs to be meaningful and ongoing: what…, 5. It’s time for education systems to keep pace with AI-powered opportunities and risks., AI is already reshaping the future of work and the skills that will be needed, so there is a real urgency to educate children now as they will increasingly need to be able to blend traditional skills and disciplines with AI-related skills. Incorporating AI education into curricula and teaching children about AI makes them conscious users of AI-…, 6. Without meaningful diversity, equality and accessibility, AI will benefit some children but sideline many more., The lack of diversity in teams developing AI models – especially a lack of children’s voices – and in the data that are used to train AI systems leads to bias that can reproduce inequality and reinforce marginalization and exclusion. Since data used to train AI solutions are often skewed towards those in the Global North, the specific needs and…, 7. Implementing AI policies and systems for children often requires carefully considered trade-offs., Since AI can be both a source of opportunity and risk for children, a holistic approach when developing policies and systems can help uncover the interrelation between the positives and negatives and help identify (sometimes necessary) trade-offs. For example, when implementing the principle of age-appropriateness in design, it is necessary to…, 8. Ethics and children’s rights are not ‘boxes’ to be ticked at the end., The ethical implications of AI systems and their impact on children’s rights and well-being should be considered during all stages of the product and service lifecycle. Participants shared examples from the public sector (e.g. the Ethical Framework for Artificial Intelligence in Colombia advocates for recognising and respecting children’s and…, 9. Cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary collaboration in AI is just as important for children as for adults., A collaborative multi-stakeholder and multidisciplinary approach brings together technical and non-technical expertise, private and public sector actors, and supports the inclusion of children and their families from diverse backgrounds and settings in developing responsible AI systems. This also results in capacity-building amongst those…, 10. Within the public sector, only a ‘whole of government’ approach to AI can break through silos., To be properly operationalized, AI policy needs to be aligned with existing policies in relevant sectors, such as health, education and economic development. However, this is challenging because government departments are often siloed. AI Sweden , working with municipalities and national departments, calls AI a cross-cutting technology that forces…, Conversations,      , Explore content from the forum, Watch videos of keynote presentations and panel discussions, and read a summary of breakout group discussions, Day one, November 30, 15:00–15:05 Helsinki studio greetings  Rauna Rahja, Media Literacy Expert, Dadamedia (Host) 15:05–15:15        Welcome and opening remarks ( watch video ) Elina Kalkku, Under-Secretary of State for Development Policy, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland Fayaz King, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF Marja-Riitta Ketola, Executive Director,…, Day two, December 1, 15:00 – 15:10 Welcome back ( watch video ) Steven Vosloo, Digital Policy Specialist, UNICEF Jasmina Byrne, Chief of Policy, UNICEF 15:10 – 15:30        Keynote: Future trends in AI policies and practice ( watch video ) Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, MEP, European Parliament Youth discussant: Alisha Arora, Youth Ambassador, UNICEF 15:30 – 15:45 …, Looking ahead, The updated Policy Guidance on AI for Children 2.0 can be a useful tool for government and the private sector on their journey towards safe, equitable and ethical AI systems. But for the policy guidance to make a real difference for children, political will and commitment to use and implement it is needed. That means making resources available (…, Contact us, 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. Ministry of Foreign Affairs Finland logo
19 November 2021

Policy guidance on AI for children

As part of our AI for children project, UNICEF has developed this policy guidance to promote children's rights in government and private sector AI policies and practices, and to raise awareness of how AI systems can uphold or undermine these rights. The policy guidance explores AI systems, and considers the ways in which they impact children. Drawing on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the guidance offers nine requirements for child-centered AI: Support children’s development and well-being Ensure inclusion of and for children Prioritize fairness and non-discrimination for children Protect children’s data and privacy Ensure safety for children Provide transparency, explainability, and accountability for children Empower governments and businesses with knowledge of AI and children’s rights  Prepare children for present and future developments in AI Create an enabling environment To support implementation of the guidance, a list of online resources and a set of practical implementation tools are provided, including: Roadmap for policymakers AI for children development canvas AI guide for parents AI guide for teens To see how the guidance has been applied in practice, read about the eight case studies.   Why now? Artificial intelligence (AI) is about so much more than self-driving cars and intelligent assistants on your phone. AI systems are increasingly being used by governments and the private sector to, for example, improve the provision of education, healthcare and welfare services. While AI is a force for innovation, it also poses risks for children and their rights, such as to their privacy, safety and security. But most AI policies, strategies and guidelines make only cursory mention of children. To help fill this gap, UNICEF has partnered with the Government of Finland to explore approaches to protecting and upholding child rights in an evolving AI world.   How the guidance was developed Public consultation The draft policy guidance (version 1.0) was released in September 2020. UNICEF subsequently sought input from stakeholders who are interested in or working in areas related to the fields of AI and children’s rights. This included AI developers and deployers, companies, government agencies, civil society, international organizations, academics and adult and child citizens. We invited stakeholders to express their views on the draft guidance and provide feedback and comments by October 16, 2020. (See privacy notice.) Click here to find out how they responded to the draft guidance. This input was analysed and incorporated into version 2.0. In order to ensure AI systems’ continued alignment with the rights and situations of children, this guidance should be seen as a starting contribution to child-centred AI. We hope that similar guides continue to be adapted and enriched over time with practical insights. Case studies and implementation In order for the policy guidance to address the many implementation complexities, it needs to be put to use by policymakers, public organizations and businesses for validation and local adaptation. We thus invited governments and the business sector to pilot the draft guidance in their field and openly share their findings about how it was used, and what worked and what did not, so that their real experiences can improve the document. In this spirit, UNICEF has worked with a group of government and business “pilot partners” to develop case studies on how each will implement the guidance: Read the cases. Piloting organizations adhered to these terms.
28 February 2021

Adolescent Perspectives on Artificial Intelligence Report

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) promotes the right of young children and adolescents to participate in decision-making in policies, processes and practices that affect their lives. UNICEF and its partners have accumulated considerable experience with ways to engage adolescents and encourage their active participation in decision-making to realise these rights. Building on its accumulated expertise, UNICEF is developing a children's rights perspective in the rapidly-emerging sphere of artificial intelligence (AI). This document reports on workshops conducted in 2020 with 245 adolescents in five countries. It includes the adolescents' views and aspirations on AI; the nature of their experiences with AI; and their opinions on how they understand the risks and opportunities that AI presents in their lives. It features key messages that emerged from these consultations and the methods employed to engage adolescents in dialogue on AI. An appendix provides a selection of adolescent views on AI in their own words. The workshops with adolescents are part of the broader AI for Children Project led by the UNICEF Office of Global Insight and Policy. The adolescents’ voices, combined with consultations with experts around the world, shaped the development of a draft Policy Guidance on AI for Children. The guidance is aimed at governments and businesses to help them create AI policies and systems that are child-centred.