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Demographic in AI Regulation


India is set to host its inaugural global summit on Artificial Intelligence (AI) this October, and in December, as the Chair of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI), India will also host the GPAI global summit. These events underscore the strategic significance of AI for India, as it is predicted to contribute $500 billion to the country’s economy by 2025, constituting 10% of the GDP target.


GS3- Science and Technology

  • Developments and their Applications and Effects in Everyday Life.
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-technology, Bio-technology and issues relating to Intellectual Property Rights.

Mains Question:

“One area where India can lead is in how regulators address the critical yet less understood demographic of children and adolescents in the context of AI.” Examine the challenges posed by AI to children and suggest measures to deal with them. (15 makrs, 250 words).

Children and AI- associated challenges:

  • Many cutting-edge AI applications are not specifically designed for children but are accessed by them, creating governance challenges.
  • Without proper regulation, data-intensive AI-based digital services may employ opaque algorithms and deceptive tactics to exploit impressionable young individuals.
  • This can lead to distortions of ideal physical appearances, triggering body image issues, as well as malicious threats such as misinformation, radicalization, cyberbullying etc.
  • The next generation of digital citizens must also deal with the indirect consequences of their families’ online activities. “Sharents,” who regularly post content about their children online, need to be aware of the potential risks.

Way Forward:

RegulationSuccessful regulation should create an environment that promotes children’s well-being, inclusion, fairness, non-discrimination, safety, transparency, explainability, and accountability.

 It should also adapt to the varying developmental stages of children from different age groups. For example, California’s Age Appropriate Design Code Act could serve as a template, emphasizing transparency, default privacy settings, and age-appropriate language.

To protect children’s interests when interacting with AI, the upcoming Digital India Act (DIA) should emphasize international best practices, standards, strong institutions, and openness, trust, and accountability.

Regulation must align incentives to mitigate issues like addiction, mental health concerns, and overall safety.
ResearchIndian authorities should encourage research to gather evidence on the benefits and risks of AI for Indian children and adolescents, laying the foundation for an Indian Age Appropriate Design Code for AI.
Empower the children and youthIndia should move away from top-down safety protocols that place undue burdens on parents as children move into adolescence.

Young people should be equipped with tools to manage unintended consequences, such as AI-powered deep fake capabilities that can be used for malicious purposes.
Initiate dialogue with childrenMechanisms for regular dialogue with children can help incorporate their input on the benefits and threats of AI-based digital services.

Establishing institutions similar to Australia’s Online Safety Youth Advisory Council, composed of individuals between the ages of 13-24, could be an effective approach to make regulation more responsive to the challenges young people face while preserving the benefits of digital services.


India’s diverse population with intersectional identities requires AI regulation to address real-world biases and inequities. The current approach to children under India’s data protection law needs improvement, as it transfers an excessive burden to parents and hampers safe platform operations and design. As India moves towards enacting new laws to regulate internet harms and asserts its thought leadership in global AI regulation, the welfare of its young citizens must be a primary concern. Given India’s capacity to generate vast amounts of data, it has the opportunity to set a policy precedent for countries in the Global South in this regard.

December 2023