The AI Roundtable 2019

The AI Roundtable: How can we use AI as a catalyst for child safety online?

In November 2019, Global Child Forum and the World Childhood Foundation hosted a one-day expert roundtable at the Stockholm Royal Palace on the potential and limits of artificial intelligence (AI) to help combat online child sexual abuse. 

In order to harness the power of AI to safeguard children online, 40 experts and thought-leaders from business and academia, law enforcement agencies, regulatory bodies and child protection organisations were convened to the global roundtable, under the patronage of their Majesties Queen Silvia and King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.

Online child sexual abuse and exploitation is growing exponentially. While technical developments promise impactful solutions, they do not sufficiently keep up with the harmful use of technology. There is an urgent need to intensify cross-sectorial dialogue and accelerate action.

The round-table was built on research, commitments and tools developed in ongoing collaborations and initiatives. The ambition was to gather stakeholder groups that usually do not meet, both those already working specifically on AI and online child sexual abuse, and those working on AI in other fields.

This one-day event provided a neutral space where participants challenge and inspire each other, forged new collaborations, learned from each other and increased the number of actors and resources focused on fighting online child sexual abuse.

The challenge today

While tools which use combinations of technologies—such as facial detection, social network analysis and natural language processing—already exist and can be used to combat online child abuse, they do not yet meet all the challenges posed by online perpetrators. It is evident that new, innovative and coordinated approaches are needed to accelerate action to combat child abuse online.

The challenges of fighting online child sexual abuse are influenced by a complexity of factors, many of which are non-technological. These challenges include legal limitations, lack of harmonized responses, online privacy issues, weak technological attainment of some of the most in need police-forces, lack of investment in new tools as well as the technological limitations of today. To strive for a world free of online child sexual abuse means tackling all of these issues.

Expected outcomes

The 2019 round-table meeting equipped participants with the opportunity

  • to understand how the different stakeholder groups relate to one another and impact the issue
  • to establish new connections and networks and to learn from one another
  • to move towards commitments for more collaboration and joint actions
  • to push the existing boundaries and develop ideas to accelerate transformative AI-driven solutions for ending online child sexual abuse in an effort to reach the Sustainable Development Goal 16.2 by 2030

To see the day’s agenda, please click here.

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