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AI products for kids promising friendship and learning? 3 things to consider

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the growing availability of AI-enabled smart toys and robots that are marketed for children, and the need to carefully examine the assumptions and implications of using such technologies in children's lives.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] Assumptions about AI-enabled toys and robots

1. What are some of the underlying assumptions either potentially suggested or directly asserted with these technologies and how they are marketed? The article examines three key assumptions:

  • Assumption 1: Human traits like curiosity, empathy or emotions like happiness, sadness, "heart" or compassion can be realized in a machine.
  • Assumption 2: When companions, teachers, or therapists engage with children, their human qualities and traits are irrelevant.
  • Assumption 3: Research that proves the effectiveness of human-led therapeutic, care or learning interventions is applicable to AI-led interventions.

2. Why should we be cautious about these assumptions?

  • The article argues that we have no reason to believe that the demonstration of human emotion or empathy in AI products is more than a mere simulation, and that these technologies present "artificial intimacy" that can perform but will never compare to the depth of human inner life.
  • It highlights that the human qualities and traits that make human presence essential in child development, such as empathy and compassion, cannot be easily replicated by AI systems.
  • The article cautions that the extent to which research about human-to-human experiences can yield insight into the benefits of child-AI relationships should not be taken for granted, given the novelty of the technology and the lack of extensive non-commercial research.

[02] The value of human presence

1. Why is human presence important for children's development? The article emphasizes that social interactions with parents, friends, and teachers can have profound impacts on a child's learning, development, and understanding of the world. It argues that children need human care and companionship and will always benefit from an engaged, emotional, and thoughtful human presence.

2. What makes human empathy, compassion, and validation irreplaceable? The article states that empathy, compassion, and validation are distinctively human, and that allowing another human to feel what we feel and say, "If I were in your place, I would feel the same way" is irreplaceable.

3. What role can AI play in children's lives, according to the article? The article suggests that while AI should not be completely left out of children's lives, it should not replace the human care, companionship, and presence that are essential for children's development. It mentions that generative AI can provide opportunities for children to learn about data, privacy, and ideas about AI, but that ultimately, children will always benefit more from an engaged, emotional, and thoughtful human presence.

Shared by Daniel Chen ยท
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