The A.I. Chatbots Have Arrived. Time to Talk to Your Kids.

From the NY Times:

Artificial intelligence can make adults nervous, but experts say exploring it as a family is the best way to understand its pros and cons.

The race is on. Companies are pouring billions of dollars into powerful online chatbots and finding new ways to integrate them into our daily lives.

Are our children ready for this?

Are any of us?

ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence language model from OpenAI, has been making headlines since November for its ability to instantly respond to complex questions. It can write poetry, generate code, plan vacations and translate languages, among other tasks, all within seconds. GPT-4, the latest version introduced in mid-March, can even respond to images (and ace the Bar Exam). On Tuesday, Google released Bard, its own A.I. chatbot, which the company says can draft emails and poems and offer guidance. (It is currently only available to a limited number of users.)

But for all of their impressive abilities, chatbots can also serve up harmful content or answers rife with inaccuracies, biases and stereotypes. They are also capable of saying things that sound convincing but are, in fact, completely made up. And some students have begun using chatbots to plagiarize.

Many parents, who are already distressed about their children’s dependence on digital devices and the mental health ramifications of social media, may be tempted to bury their heads in the sand.

Instead, experts say families should explore this technology together, thinking critically about its strengths and weaknesses.

“The worst thing parents can do is forbid their child to use these new systems because they are here to stay,” said Justine Cassell, a professor in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University who has studied how interacting with machines in humanlike ways can affect learning and communication. “Helping their child understand the positives and negatives is far more helpful.”

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