OpenAI hopes to win the trust of parents and policymakers by partnering with organizations working to reduce tech and media harm to children, teens and young adults.
Case in point, OpenAI today announced a partnership with Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization that reviews and ranks the suitability of various media and tech for kids, to collaborate on AI guidelines and educational materials for parents, educators, and young adults.
As part of the partnership, OpenAI will work with Common Sense Media to curate “family-friendly” GPTs — chatbot apps powered by OpenAI's GenAI models — in the GPT Store, OpenAI's GPT marketplace, Common Sense Rating and Evaluation Criteria, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said.
“AI offers tremendous benefits for families and teens, and our partnership with Common Sense will further strengthen our safety work, ensuring families and teens can use our tools with confidence,” Altman added in a prepared statement.
The partnership comes after OpenAI said it would participate in Common Sense's new framework, launched in September, for ratings and reviews designed to assess the safety, transparency, ethical use and effectiveness of AI products. Common Sense's framework aims to create a “nutrition label” for AI-powered apps that will shed light on the apps' use cases and highlight potential opportunities and areas of vulnerability, according to Common Sense co-founder and CEO James Steyer. A set of “common sense” theories.
In a press release, Steyer addressed the fact that today's parents are generally less knowledgeable about GenAI tools — for example, OpenAI's viral AI-powered chatbot ChatGPT — than younger generations. An Impact Research poll commissioned by Common Sense Media late last year found that 58% of students aged 12 to 18 use ChatGPT, compared with 30% of parents of school-aged children.
“Together, Common Sense and OpenAI will work to ensure that AI has a positive impact on all teens and families,” Steyer said in an emailed statement. “Our guides and curation (like the OpenAI tools) will be designed to educate families and educators about the safe, responsible use of ChatGPT so we can collectively avoid any unintended consequences of this emerging technology.”
OpenAI faces pressure from regulators to show that its GenAI-based apps, including ChatGPT, are an overall boon to society — not a detriment. Last summer, the US Federal Trade Commission opened an investigation into OpenAI into whether ChatGPT harmed users through its data collection and publication of false advertisements about individuals. European data authorities have also expressed concern over OpenAI's handling of private information.
OpenAI's tools, like all GenAI tools, reliably make things up and get basic facts wrong. And they're biased — a reflection of the data used to train them.
Children and teenagers, aware of the tools' limitations or not, are increasingly turning to them for help with personal problems, not just with schoolwork. According to a poll from the Center for Democracy and Technology, 29% of children reported using ChatGPT to deal with anxiety or mental health issues, 22% for problems with friends and 16% for family disputes.