popAI at ETHICOMP 2024

popAI was at the ETHICOMP 2024! Elodie Makhoul, Research Analyst at Trilateral Research, discussed how social controversies can support the understanding of direct and indirect impacts of AI technologies especially in the security domain on the society as a whole and diverse social groups as well. The social deconstruction methodology developed during the popAI project provides the tools that allow the critical analysis of such controversies enabling to map the key stakeholders involved and identify their perspectives on the topic. Understanding who is part of the discourse and their respective arguments is key for exploring and assessing potential risks of the technology in question to inform an ethical decision-making process both at the development and use phase of these technologies.

Elodie’s presentation focused on the analysis carried out on the controversial case of Pro-Kid, a risk assessment tool used by the Dutch police attempting to predict whether children as young as 12 are at risk of criminality based on data collected by law enforcements. The deconstruction of the Pro-Kid controversy suggested that children’s rights and interests were not adequately considered when designing AI tools, which resulted into a technology that could amplify existing biases and   criminalise specific categories of children.

These important research findings inform Trilateral Research’s work in the context of a new EU-ISF project, ALUNA, that develops tools and strategies to support the fight against child sexual abuse and exploitation. As part of ALUNA, Trilateral Research is developing a child-centred impact assessment framework to inform the design of AI-powered technologies in the  children safeguarding domain considering children rights, and assessing at early stages potential ethical and social impacts of such technologies on children’s lives and well-being.