As Artificial Intelligence Accelerates, AI for Children Toolkit Puts the Youth First

29 Mar 2022

Safaa Khan, World Economic Forum,

  • Children and youth today are surrounded by artificial intelligence (AI) in their everyday lives – from social media to smart speakers and toys, video games, and even education technology.
  • The AI for Children Toolkit is designed to help companies develop trustworthy products and to help parents, guardians, and others responsibly buy and safely use AI products.
  • It includes a checklist for C-suite executives and guidelines for product teams to design child-centric AI.
  • Read the toolkit here

San Francisco, USA, 29 March 2022 - The World Economic Forum published the “AI for Children Toolkit” to encourage companies to build innovative and responsible AI to better protect children and youth. The toolkit is intended to help make sure that the AI is designed, developed, and deployed in a way that respects the rights of children and has a positive impact in their lives. It includes a checklist with actionable frameworks and real-world guidance for companies, as well as a guide for parents and guardians to better understand the benefits and risks of AI.

“The future will be full of uses of AI and so it is essential that children and the adults who care for them prepare them for that future,” said Kay Firth-Butterfield, Head of AI and Machine Learning at the World Economic Forum. “They need to learn what AI can do and how it is used in society, but they also need to learn from AI enabled machines. New generations of children are unique in that AI will accompany them throughout their lifetimes. This is the first generation of children that will learn with AI toys, work with AI solutions and then be cared for in older age with AI devices and monitors. This is a huge step forward to give carers, businesses, and children a guide to take forward that required understanding.”

The new toolkit is produced by a diverse team of youth, technologists, academics, and business leaders. As children can be especially vulnerable to the potential risks posed by AI, including bias, cybersecurity, and lack of accessibility, it encourages companies to put them FIRST: producing technology that is Fair, Inclusive, Responsible, Safe, and Transparent for children and youth and carefully follow the listed principles throughout the design, development, and deployment of technology.

The toolkit also proposes that companies enable an “AI Labelling System” for products and services designed for children and youth to build trust and transparency by clearly communicating how the technology uses AI, how the user interacts with the AI, and what choices the child and their parents have to increase their privacy and safety.

While artificial Intelligence can be used to educate and empower children and have a positive impact on society, it must be designed inclusively to respect the rights of the child user. Mohamed Kande, Vice Chair - US Consulting Solutions Co-Leader & Global Advisory Leader at PwC, said, “AI technology is rapidly developing and having a profound impact on children and youth. Responsibly designed and child-centric AI can educate and empower children and youth while mitigating the potential risks posed by the technology. PwC is proud to have worked with the World Economic Forum to develop the AI for Children Toolkit, which provides frameworks and guidance to help companies become leaders in trusted and responsible AI."

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All opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Economic Forum Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.

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