Andrew McStay, Gilad Rosner: Emotional artificial intelligence in children’s toys and devices: Ethics, governance and practical remedies

10/09/2021 - 14:43

First Published March 15, 2021 Research Article


This article examines the social acceptability and governance of emotional artificial intelligence (emotional AI) in children’s toys and other child-oriented devices. To explore this, it conducts interviews with stakeholders with a professional interest in emotional AI, toys, children and policy to consider implications of the usage of emotional AI in children’s toys and services. It also conducts a demographically representative UK national survey to ascertain parental perspectives on networked toys that utilise data about emotions. The article highlights disquiet about the evolution of generational unfairness, that encompasses injustices regarding the datafication of childhood, manipulation, parental vulnerability, synthetic personalities, child and parental media literacy, and need for improved governance. It concludes with practical recommendations for regulators and the toy industry.
Emotional artificial intelligence, children, parents, toys, governance, data protection