UNESCO has called on governments to take “swift” action to “regulate” the use of artificial intelligence tools like the conversation robot “ChatGPT” in classrooms, including limiting their use to older children.
In guidelines issued on Thursday, the UN agency stated that public authorities are not ready to handle the ethical issues associated with the adoption of artificial intelligence programs in the educational environment.
The organization, headquartered in Paris, warned that replacing teachers with such programs could affect the emotional well-being of children and make them susceptible to manipulation.
A statement quoted UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay as saying, “Generative artificial intelligence can be a great opportunity for human development, but it can also be a source of harm and damage.”
She emphasized that it is “unacceptable” to introduce it into education without public participation and robust government guarantees and legislation.
Since the end of 2022, there has been an increase in generative artificial intelligence programs available to the general public, following the launch of the American startup “OpenAI’s” program “ChatGPT,” which is capable of writing articles, poems, and coherent conversations based on short prompts.
However, the proliferation of these programs has also raised concerns about new forms of intellectual property theft or cheating in schools and universities.
UNESCO’s recommendation states that artificial intelligence tools should have the ability to assist children with special learning needs, such as providing on-screen translations, as long as teachers, users, and researchers are involved in designing these tools, and governments regulate their use.
The UNESCO report also noted that some commentators prefer raising the minimum age to sixteen.