14 June 2023, by Victoria Séveno

A recent study conducted by a Dutch university has found that the majority of children in the Netherlands don’t want to see robots take over jobs in various key industries, including education and healthcare

University of Twente researches children’s views on AI

A team from the University of Twente and the KidsRights Foundation asked 374 children between the ages of four and 16 for their views on the future of AI technology, in order to determine how open the younger generation is to the idea of robots taking over certain roles in society. 

On the whole, the research revealed that while children recognise that robots are able to take over some professions, in many cases they don’t think they should. “Children clearly indicate their limits,” KidsRights chair Marc Dullaert told the AD

Majority of Dutch kids weary of AI technology

Of those surveyed, 54,8 percent of children said they were against the idea of a robot police officer, and 61,3 percent didn’t like the idea of a GP being a robot. According to the research, the children worried that a robot police officer could threaten their safety. On the other hand, 55,3 percent were in favour of a robot salesperson working in a shop. 

When it comes to teaching, the children said they would struggle to connect or become friends with a robot. “Children believe that robots cannot empathise with others, do not know what a person feels or thinks,” Dullaert explained.

According to the AD, the study marks the first time that science has looked into the way young people perceive AI technology. “We must therefore protect and involve them [in decisions],” Dullaert argued, adding that this is the “generation that will grow up” with the technology. He called on the Dutch government to involve young people in drawing up ethical standards for artificial intelligence: “Children have an unerring moral compass.”

Thumb: Miriam Doerr Martin Frommherz via Shutterstock.com.

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