Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be defined as “a set of sciences,theories and techniques whose purpose is to reproduce by a machine the cognitive abilities of a human being. Current developments aim, for instance, to be able to entrust a machine with complex tasks previously delegated to a human.”


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AI is expected to play a greater role in the way that governments and public institutions operate, and the way in which citizens interact and participate in democratic processes. The hopes placed on AI are accompanied by a similarly high number of fears and concerns, mostly related to ethical issues, including human rights, and to the reliability (or security) of the technologies.

By its present and future impact on social life and organisation or by its reliance on young people to programme and fine-tune AI technologies, AI is very closely related to young people. Yet, there is relatively little research and information about how AI will impact on young people as citizens in transition to autonomy regarding their well-being, possibilities to participate and shape society and their access to rights, including social rights.

It is within this context that the Youth Department of the Council of Europe organised a seminar on Artificial Intelligence and its Impact on Young People, the aim of the seminar was to explore the issues, role and possible contributions of the youth sector in an effort to ensure that AI is responsibly used in democratic societies and that young people have a say about matters that concern their present and future.The seminar was held at the European Youth Centre in Strasbourg, from 4 to 6 December 2019.

The results of the seminar will inform the future programme of the youth sector in the upcoming years and be reflected in the future Youth Strategy of the Council of Europe, which notes “the pervasive influence of technology and the digital space on the ways in which young people live their lives” as driver of change, alongside demographic issues. These results will also provide input to the work of the Council of Europe on Artificial Intelligence.

The seminar looked, among other things, into three dimensions of AI:
  • AI and democratic youth participation (including young people’s trust/interest in democracy)
  • AI and young people’s access to rights (including social rights)
  • AI and youth policy and youth work.
The programme of the seminar enabled the participants to put together their experience and knowledge in proposing answers to the following questions:
  • What are the impacts of AI on young people and how can young people benefit from it?
  • How can the youth sector make use of the capacities of AI to enhance the potential of youth work and youth policy provisions for the benefit of young people?
  • How to inform and “educate” young people about the potential benefits and risks of AI, notably in relation to young people’s human rights and democratic participation and the need to involve all young people in the process?
  • How does AI influence young people’s access to rights?
  • What should the youth sector of the Council of Europe, through the use of its various instruments and partners, do about AI in the future?