The report found that schools around the world are largely unprepared for the use of generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) in education.
A new UNESCO report urges governments to regulate generative AI (GenAI) in the classroom, with a recommendation of placing an age limit on the technology.
GenAI, which produces new content in various formats ranging from text to image, gained popularity in late 2022 with ChatGPT, OpenAI’s natural language tool.
In January 2023, ChatGPT’s monthly active users reached 100 million people. Six months later, in July, only one country had released regulations on GenAI, according to the authors.
The guidelines highlight that GenAI in education could have consequences on the “development of human capacities such as critical thinking skills and creativity”.
“Such wide-ranging capacities […] have potentially huge implications for education, as they replicate the higher-order thinking that constitutes the foundation of human learning,” said Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education.
An AI age restriction
The report found that schools around the world are largely unprepared to use generative AI in education due to a lack of government policy.
Authors suggest governments follow seven steps to use generative AI in education with a “human-centric” approach, including by **enforcing GDPR regulations**and strengthening copyright rules.
The report’s guidelines and recommendation of an “age limit for the use of GenAI” was a world first.
UNESCO highlights that ChatGPT requires users to be at least 13 years old, but that debates in favour of raising the age limit to 16 are taking place worldwide.
The paper’s authors argue that many of the online protection rules for minors were passed long before the invention of AI and call on policymakers to rethink restrictions.
“The emergence of various GenAI chatbots demand that countries carefully consider – and publicly deliberate – the appropriate age threshold for independent conversations with GenAI platforms,” UNESCO said.
The report calls for greater attention in the coming years, as it says education could be completely overhauled by current and developing technologies.
Approval for the European Union’s AI Act is likely to be later this year or in early 2024.