Young people speak out: insights on AI from the Youth Talks global consultation

7 June 2024

AI from the Youth Talks global consultation

Young people around the world are voicing their perspectives on the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in their lives, demanding stricter regulations to protect privacy, ensure fair access, and address environmental concerns. These insights come from the global Youth Talks on AI consultation, an initiative where EADA Business School, as a founding partner, actively participated.

Youth Talks, orchestrated by the Swiss-based Higher Education for Good Foundation, leveraged AI to gather and process opinions from individuals aged 15-29 across various countries. During April and early May, more than 1,000 young voices contributed their thoughts, with data privacy emerging as the top concern.

A significant number of participants called for stringent controls on the data AI systems can collect and emphasized the need for transparency in AI applications. While some respondents (23%) were open to using AI for health and wellbeing purposes, the majority (77%) favoured restrictions to safeguard personal and sensitive information. Concerns about data misuse were particularly pronounced among younger respondents and those from the Americas, compared to their peers in Asia.

Environmental impact was another key issue, with many highlighting the high energy consumption of data servers that power AI technologies. Four out of five respondents advocated for limiting AI use to reduce its carbon footprint. Interestingly, this concern was less prevalent among youth from affluent, energy-producing regions like North America and the Middle East.

When it comes to education, the survey revealed a strong preference for human teachers over robotic ones. A substantial 71% opposed replacing teachers with AI in the classroom, valuing the emotional intelligence and personalized guidance that human educators provide. Only a small fraction (13%) was willing to forego traditional schooling in favour of AI-driven education.

Additionally, a large majority of respondents expressed a desire for limited AI assistance with homework. They emphasized the importance of critical thinking skills and warned against becoming overly reliant on technology. Many also pointed out the potential threat to creativity, stressing the need for education in using AI responsibly and understanding its limitations.

Young educators participating in the survey recognized the benefits of AI in streamlining administrative tasks, freeing up time for students, and enhancing research efforts. They saw AI as a tool to make learning more engaging through personalized tests and quizzes. However, there were concerns about AI exacerbating the digital divide and increasing social inequalities. Participants called for robust international regulations to ensure equitable access to AI technologies and prevent misuse, such as the spread of misinformation.

At EADA, where we offer a Double Degree Global BBA & Bachelor in Artificial Intelligence for Business, these insights are particularly relevant. Understanding the concerns and aspirations of young people regarding AI aligns with our commitment to integrating advanced technologies into our curriculum while addressing their ethical and societal implications.