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New Article: The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Children’s Online Safety

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The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) has brought about significant changes in our society, particularly in the realm of technology. However, recent discussions have emerged regarding the responsibility of technology companies in safeguarding the well-being of children online. This article explores the concerns raised by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) and CyberSafe Kids, shedding light on the impact of AI and the urgent need for protection.

The ICCL’s Perspective

The ICCL raises questions about the efficacy of voluntary efforts by technology companies in addressing the risks posed by AI, especially in relation to young individuals. Dr. Johnny Ryan, Director of the ICCL’s Enforce unit, emphasizes the historically poor track record of technology companies when it comes to self-improvement and responsible behavior. He asserts that “technology companies will not save our children” and calls for proactive measures to tackle this issue.

To address these concerns, the ICCL and over 60 other organizations have written to Ireland’s new regulatory body, Coimisiún na Meán, urging the introduction of a binding rule within the upcoming video platform code. This rule would automatically disable user profile-based recommendations. Dr. Ryan highlights strong support from the Irish public for such a rule, but acknowledges that its enforcement may face significant resistance from major technology companies.

CyberSafe Kids’ Insights

CyberSafe Kids, a philanthropic organization, echoes the ICCL’s concerns and adds insights into the implications of AI features introduced to children without due consideration for potential consequences. Alex Múñez, Executive Director of CyberSafe Kids, points out the “My AI Friend” feature on Snapchat, which has been available since March 2023. Múñez reveals that 37% of 8 to 12-year-olds in Ireland have accounts on this communication platform. The feature was conceived as a friend to whom children could turn for inquiries. However, research has shown that the feature quickly forgets its conversation partner is a child, leading to the distribution of inappropriate information.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What is the focus of this article?
This article delves into the development of AI and its potential risks, emphasizing the need for safeguarding young individuals online. The opinions presented stem from the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) and CyberSafe Kids.

2. What is the ICCL’s viewpoint?
The ICCL believes that technology companies cannot be relied upon to protect young individuals from the dangers posed by AI. Dr. Johnny Ryan, Director of the ICCL’s Enforce unit, advocates for the introduction of a binding rule within video platforms, disabling profile-based recommendations by default.

3. What insights does CyberSafe Kids provide?
CyberSafe Kids shares their perspective on the safe use of AI by children. Executive Director Alex Múñez highlights the “My AI Friend” feature on Snapchat and emphasizes the need for considering the consequences before introducing such features to children.

4. What are the sources of the research mentioned?
Dr. Johnny Ryan refers to research conducted by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue’s (ISD) Misinformation Policy Unit, which found that the YouTube recommendation system commonly promotes misogynistic content to boys. Furthermore, the International Amnesty has discovered that the TikTok AI algorithm exposes children to videos endorsing self-harm under the guise of promoting mental health.

5. How can we protect children from the influence of AI?
Dr. Johnny Ryan and the ICCL advocate for the implementation of binding rules on video platforms, ensuring that user profile-based recommendations are disabled by default. CyberSafe Kids warns about the repercussions of new features, such as Snapchat’s “My AI Friend,” emphasizing the importance of considering the implications before introducing them to children.

6. How have technology companies reacted?
There is expected to be significant resistance from major technology companies if binding rules for AI implementation are proposed. Enforcing such regulations may face firm opposition from these companies.

Related Resources:

– Coimisiún na Meán Website: www.coimisunnamean.ie
– CyberSafe Kids Website: www.cybersafekids.ie

Sources:
– ISD Misinformation Policy Unit
– International Amnesty