Artificial Intelligence (AI)

[Last updated: May 2020]

Artificial Intelligence (AI): The ability to understand the algorithms involved in the AI-based platforms one interacts with, and the ethical conversations happening around the development of these technologies.

Over the past several years, technologies based on AI have started changing our daily lives. Innovations are rolled out at an accelerated pace, not only in professional working environments but also at home and in schools. Thus far, there is less research on the beneficial impact of AI-based technologies specifically on adolescents. However, recent reports and studies indicate that AI is playing an increasingly important role in, for instance, the domains such as education and health and well-being.

Setting out to understand what we know and what we don’t know, the YaM team released in 2019 a flagship publication entitled Youth and Artificial Intelligence: Where We Stand. In the publication, the authors highlight some of the team’s initial learnings and exploratory questions around the ways young people may interact with and be impacted by AI technologies. The publication addresses five thematic areas: 1) Education, 2) Health and well-being, 3) Future of work, 4) Privacy and safety, and 5) Creativity and entertainment.

The publication encourages various stakeholders — including policymakers, educators, and parents and caregivers — to consider how we can empower young people to meaningfully interact with AI-based technologies to promote and bolster learning, creative expression, and well-being, while also addressing key challenges and concerns. The publication has been featured at major events like ITU’s AI for Good in Geneva and UNICEF’s Towards Global Guidance on AI and Child Rights workshop.

We have also been exploring how to translate our AI research into educational tools. We have developed several tools — co-designed with and for youth — that can be used to learn and teach about AI in group-based formal or informal learning settings. The tools focus on some of the fundamental aspects of AI systems (e.g., what is an algorithm?), while also considering the ethical considerations surrounding AI-based applications (e.g., how do algorithms shape the content one sees on their social media feed(s) and how does this impact the way one interacts with information on social media?).

Additionally, we have been developing methods to translate our insights around AI in creative and accessible ways. For example, we are working on an AI children’s book (for ages 5+) that aims to foster discussion around themes such as AI and autonomy, the interplay between gender and STEM education, and human-machine interaction. To develop this book, we brought together a multidisciplinary and diverse group of YaM team members, with individuals from backgrounds such as education, the social sciences, art, policy making, youth activism, and engineering.

We are also working on expanding our repertoire of illustrations around AI that explore various domains related to AI, such as the future of work, health and well-being, creativity, privacy and safety, and education.

Flagship publication:

Ongoing collaborations:

Key learning resources:

To learn about how to navigate our Digital Citizenship+ (Plus) Resource Platform — home to an evolving collection of 100+ educational tools (e.g., learning experiences, visualizations, podcasts) that can be used to learn and teach about youth’s digitally connected lives — please see the following slidedeck, presented at RightsCon Tunis 2019. The presentation also offers helpful tips in terms of adapting the tools to your context.

Other publications:

Videos and Podcasts:

In the media:

Selected presentations:

(For more information, please email Sandra Cortesi.)

  • December 2019: Presentation, “Artificial Intelligence and its Impact on Young People”, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, France.
  • September 2019: Presentations, Youth and Artificial Intelligence in the context of Child Protection, Revision of the OECD Recommendation on the Protection of Children Online,OECD, Paris, France.
  • November 2019: Panel, “Developing Policy Guidelines for AI and Child Rights”, Co-Hosted with UNICEF, Internet Governance Forum, Berlin, Germany
  • November 2019: Presentations, “Youth and Media: Trends and Developments” and “Youth and Artificial Intelligence”, ZHAW Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften, Zurich, Switzerland
  • September 2019: Keynote, “Youth and AI”, Symposium on Humane Artificial Intelligence, East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawai’i
  • May 2019: Keynote, “Youth and AI: Where We Stand”, AI for Good Global Summit 2018, organized by the ITU and sister United Nations agencies, Geneva, Switzerland
  • January 2019: Presentation, “Youth, Artificial Intelligence, & Psychology”, Asia Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (FAT* Asia 2019), Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • [Urs Gasser] October 2018: Presentation, “AI in Asia and the Global Context”, Conference on AI and Commercial Law: Reimagining Trust, Governance, and Private Law Rules, Singapore Management University, Centre for AI and Data Governance, Singapore
  • November 2017: Presentation, “Artificial Intelligence and Education”, (Un)Colloquium, MIT Media Lab, Cambridge, USA
  • October 2017: Presentation, “Youth and Artificial Intelligence”, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile
  • November 2017: Presentation, Youth and the Lives of Tomorrow, Global Symposium on Artificial Intelligence & Inclusion, Rio, Brazil.