New UNESCO policy brief on Media and Information Literacy Responses to Generative AI

On 14 February 2024, UNESCO released a policy brief on the possibilities of media and information literacy to meet the challenges associated with the evolution of Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI). This publication is titled “User Empowerment through Media and Information Literacy Responses to the Evolution of Generative Artificial Intelligence” and presents the following key messages:

  • Artificial Intelligence and Generative AI are having a significant impact on people’s engagement with information, digital technology, and media. This raises concerns about control – human agency and autonomy over information, decision making, gender equality, and freedoms in general.
  • User empowerment through Media and Information Literacy (MIL) as a response to GAI, which is still in its infancy, needs to be fully deployed and public policy makers should be concerned in developing it well from the outset.
  • MIL is necessary to build people’s ethical use of synthetic media, i.e. video, text, image or voice content fully or partially generated by AI-systems.
  • The societal opportunities being deepened by GAI include: access to information, participation, employability, creativity, lifelong learning and creative industries.
  • The societal potential risks being deepened by GAI include: disinformation, loss of data privacy, threats to integrity of elections, surveillance, lack of source reliability, discrimination, including gender-based and racial stereotypes, and copyrights violations.
  • Building on familiarity in the face of urgency, AI literacy can be embedded in MIL to teach and train all sorts of communities (educators, librarians, youth workers, women networks, etc.).
  • Ensuring explainable AI is key to both the design of MIL curricula and to the design of policy and governance around GAI.
  • To build trust in information and education, source reliability needs to be revised to encompass the different types of “evidence” provided by GAI.
  • MIL can train informed people from outside the technology industry to participate in the design, implementation and regulation of AI, in a manner that remains human-centered, gender-responsive and mindful of the public interest.
  • Training for MIL is within the remit of governments and institutions of higher education, which have a duty to ensure MIL policy actions are sustained and strengthened over time, to be future-proof, in the face of an ever-evolving AI/GAI.

Full text of the policy brief is available at the UNESCO portal: