Artificial Intelligence: UK Crime Agency Warns AI Technology Could Aggravate Child Abuse

Online abuse images are feared to have a “radicalizing” effect that “normalized” dangerous sexual behavior towards children.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) in the UK has issued a warning that artificial intelligence (AI) could exacerbate the epidemic of child sexual abuse. The NCA estimates that one in every 50 men poses a risk to children, with up to 830,000 adults representing some degree of sexual danger to children in the country.

The agency’s director general, Graeme Biggar, stated that online abuse images have a “radicalizing” effect that “normalizes” such behavior. The rapid advancement of AI technology is expected to increase the threat as fake images flood the internet, potentially leading to an increase in offenders moving on to sexually abusing children themselves. (The Guardian)

The NCA’s annual threat assessment also revealed that most child sexual abuse cases involve the viewing of images. In addition, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) reported the circulation of guides online that help offenders use AI to generate realistic images of child sexual abuse.

According to the Foundation, sophisticated image-generation tools are being utilized to create incredibly lifelike images of children aged three to six, describing them as “astoundingly realistic.”

In the UK, the creation and possession of AI-generated images depicting child sexual abuse are prohibited by the 2009 Coroners and Justice Act. This act specifically addresses the production and possession of indecent “pseudo-photographs” of children. However, the IWF suggests amending the legislation to directly encompass AI-generated images as well.

The NCA and other experts are also urging the government to prioritize addressing this issue and strengthening AI regulation to protect children from online abuse.

Related Story: An Investigation By Times Reveals The Dark Side Of Training Chatbots On Offensive Content

Photo by Nuno Alberto on Unsplash

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