March 15, World Consumer Rights Day – Fair and Responsible AI for Consumers

On March 15th 2024, also known as Consumers Rights’ Day, InfoCons, as a full member of the Consumers International Organization, joins international consumer protection organizations in supporting this year’s theme: “Fair and Responsible AI for Consumers”.

As the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to grow, driven by the rise of Generative Artificial Intelligence technology, it influences and will continue to influence many aspects of our lives, from work, security, finance, education, to health.

As part of this global initiative, InfoCons supports consumers with the Free InfoCons App, a unique app at the European level, independently and transparently developed, which provides users with numerous useful pieces of information. This innovative technological tool can be used for:

  • Reading the barcodes of food products and extracting information such as ingredients, number and type of food additives, allergens, sugar quantity, salt, calories;
  • Reading the QR codes of energy labels and extracting information such as energy class, technical characteristics, manufacturer, as well as calculating the estimated cost of using electronic and electrical products;
  • Generating 3 free and personalized QR codes, which users can use according to their preferences and whose traffic can be monitored within the app;
  • Identifying the nearest civilian shelters in Romania in emergency situations, through an interactive map, if users allow the application to locate the device.

The InfoCons App can be used in 33 languages and can be downloaded from the following online stores: App Store, Google Play, and App Gallery. In addition to the functions mentioned above, InfoCons provides users with vital information such as:

  • Customizing the app for those with certain health issues and special dietary regimens, by setting the quantity of salt, sugar, allergens, numeric and types of additives;
  • Access to the list of all saved products after scanning, in order to find out the following about the foods consumed at a meal or during a day: the total amount of sugar and salt, the total number of food additives, and how many times they are repeated, the total number of calories, and how much the user needs to walk, run, or pedal to burn the calories from the consumed products;
  • All useful and emergency numbers at international level;
  • Alerts for food and non-food products in real-time at the European Union level;
  • Waiting times at road border crossing points in and out of Romania;
  • Information about accommodation units and licensed tourism agencies in Romania;
  • Dictionary of terminology in the field of consumer protection, environment, banking finance, labor, insurance, energy, etc.;
  • The possibility to receive “rewards” by performing daily and/or unique actions, available in the My Account

InfoCons joins other consumer organizations conducting activities and calls to action, such as debates, raising awareness in public spaces, appearances in the media, letters to decision-makers, and much more. Within the actions carried out by Consumers International, InfoCons and other consumer protection organizations emphasize the need for more transparency and responsibility in the design and development of AI, so that consumers can make informed decisions and know who to turn to if they are harmed.

From March 11 to 15, 2024, InfoCons participated in debates organized by the Consumers International Organization, alongside government leaders, individuals from the private sector, representatives of law firms with expertise in consumer protection, with the aim of identifying beneficial solutions for consumers. These debates focused on the following main topics:

  • The necessary global standards to overcome linguistic and market barriers;
  • How to transfer responsibility for consumer harm to AI developers and users.

Statistical data related to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how we approach it:

  • 1/4 of children in the UK aged 7 to 17 have used a Generative Artificial Intelligence tool in the last six months. (Some examples of generative AI are ChatGPT, Microsoft Bing, DALLE-E, etc.)
  • A company using Artificial Intelligence to help consumers exercise their rights in cases of unfair contracts has launched a chatbot that can negotiate with companies on behalf of people. A demonstration has already been successful.
  • The chances of realizing whether a text is written by a human or not are the same as when flipping a coin. Research shows that people realize if a text is written by a human or generated by AI only to a percentage of 50-52%.
  • In the UK, 43% of those using generative AI believe that the generated answers are always correct, and 38% believe that the answers are unbiased.

InfoCons supports consumers, as well as “Fair and Responsible AI for Consumers,” through educational activities and through the FREE InfoCons App.

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