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“Column: Exposed through Artificial Intelligence: How Do We Stop It?”

November 9, 2023 - Destacado
Column: Exposed through Artificial Intelligence: How Do We Stop It? By Luis E. Santana and Amaranta Alfaro Muirhead, team members of the Digital Citizenship Training Program. Published in Qué Pasa de La Tercera on Wednesday, November 8, 2023.

By: Luis E. Santana y Amaranta Alfaro Muirhead

Published in: Qué Pasa de La Tercera

A few weeks ago, in a private school in Lima (Peru), and then in Almendralejo (Spain), the same situation repeated itself: adolescent boys aged 12 to 14 manipulate, using artificial intelligence, photographs of their schoolmates to make them appear naked and share or sell that content. The affected individuals are girls also aged 12 to 14.

International studies have linked early exposure to pornography with unrealistic attitudes towards sex and have been associated with more aggressive sexual behaviors, as well as a negative perception of one’s own body and a disregard for women. This phenomenon may be another example of this relationship. Can a law prevent more teenagers from abusively and maliciously using these technologies to harm their peers? It is not realistic to expect that, as the law will always be late.

In Chile alone, the so-called “Pack Law,” which penalizes the non-consensual dissemination of sexually explicit images, presented by deputies Maite Orsini (RD) and Maya Fernández (PS) in 2019 and approved in the first instance in the Chamber of Deputies, is sleeping in the Senate (and that law doesn’t even explicitly consider the possibility of creating images with AI).

While there is collective responsibility involving governments, companies, and platforms—and they must be held accountable and prevent these episodes—the first line of containment and defense against the creation of this type of content are and will be parents and educators.

Emotional and sexual education must come from home and school, and not from a pornographic video. Parents must talk to their children about the idea of consent and ensure that they understand the correct expressions of gender (being more macho is not about exchanging more photographs or videos). They must learn about respect, empathy, and what harassment means, but they must also know that the production and distribution of child pornography are prohibited and severely punished.

It is also crucial, to avoid the negative consequences of these practices, to reinforce secure bonds with children and adolescents, both in terms of the people around them in their daily lives and with the responsible adults caring for them, so that they can feel confident in seeking help and reporting without fear of being judged or punished for raising the alarm. Because we need witnesses and victims to turn to adults as soon as possible to stop these chains of content distribution.

We cannot prevent the digital revolution or the malicious use of new technologies. What we can and must do is educate digital citizens who know how to act ethically in today’s society.


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