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Parenting In The Age Of Artificial Intelligence

04/08/2017 13:51
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The true age of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is upon us. Take for instance the intelligent voice recognition app, Apple Siri. Or, you can also take the example of the AI powered Google search results. The search engine takes your browsing behavior into account and provides you with search suggestions that you would most likely be intending to search.

The uses of Artificial Intelligence technology are many. Basically, the technology has the ability to learn through different human and non-human behavior or patterns and evolve into a state when it can act like a real human. Or perhaps, it can make decisions like humans do.

However, when you weigh the technology alongside parenting, you get a mixed review of emotions. For instance, a San Francisco seed investor, Hunter Walk, compares AI and kids behavior in his blog, saying that while Amazon Echo (AI) is a lovely technology, "it's also turning our daughter into a raging asshole." After all, the technology may bring convenience to our life but ordering a device to do things and without adding niceties like "Thank you" or "Please" diminish the value of "good manners."

Fair enough!

But, we cannot ignore the fair share of good things that can happen with the use of Artificial Intelligence. In the case of a Chinese family, it was the AI (Baidu AI) that helped a couple find their missing son after 27 years of his abduction.

Benefits of the AI in Parenting

Like any other technology, AI also needs a great amount of research and analysis so that we can unlock its true potential and implement it in different walks of life. Recently, the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) conducted a study on the technology that presents its significance in parenting.

There are some highly valuable insights we can derive from the study to understand how AI is impacting the role, behavior or beliefs of the Millennial parents.

AI Can Assist in Education

The IEEE study found that out of 600 parents, 74% said that they would prefer getting their child an AI tutor, while only 10% or even less refused the idea of an AI tutor. The study further reveals that 80% of the parents firmly believe that AI can help their children learn more efficiently than the parents did without the wondrous technology.

Even renowned tech influencers like, Adel De Meyer, advocates the significance of AI in education. When asked about how AI can assist in educating kids, she stated;

"Artificial intelligence could be used to provide children with one-to-one tutoring to improve their learning and monitor their well-being."

"AI will likely not replace but will serve as an invaluable extension of the human expert, helping teachers to more effectively meet the needs of many students simultaneously," she further adds.

Education plays a major role in making a person sophisticated, civilized and skilled. Though children get their core education in schools, they need additional assistance outside their institute as well. Parents can't always give them enough time and help them with studies. After all, they have their own fair share of responsibilities.

Here, an AI can help kids with their education. In fact, many online platforms are harnessing the technology of machine learning to better cater to children with their studies.

Talking about AI and education, Rose Luckin, a professor at University College London, says, "The potential for the use of AI to make education tractable and visible is huge."

AI Can Better Diagnose Diseases

When it comes to medical assistance or medical diagnosis, majority of the parents expressed "some level" of trust on AI, whereas 39% said they have "a great level" of trust.

Immediate medical assistance is something every parent would do anything to get. Say, for instance, your child suddenly gets sick late at night and you don't have any 24/7 healthcare facility around. Wouldn't you be worried? Here, medical assistance in any form would be something you would gladly go for.

Luckily, the healthcare industry is also showing great progress in implementing AI. Recently, a London based health company, Babylon Health, has raised millions of funds for their AI chatbot. The chatbot would help patients or others in need to get their medical conditions diagnosed immediately.

AI Can Help Teenage Drivers

In a US senate report on AI's significance and challenges, committee member Senator Gary Peters mentioned that human error causes 94% of 34,000 annual vehicular deaths.

McKinsey reports a benefit of AI technology in relation to self-driving cars. According to the study, the implementation of AI will have a great impact as it is expected to save 300,000 lives per decade that are lost due to vehicular accidents.

When it comes to parenting and self-driving cars the IEEE's study shows that 31% parents express less concern if their child is behind an AI-powered (self-driven) car than regular cars.

The Other Side of the Same Coin

When it comes to spending parenting time with your children, 63% of the parents believe that the technology "diminishes the amount of quality time with the child."

When you kids are younger, you need to spend more time with them as it is the period where they learn social values, respect, and other important etiquettes from their parents. However, if they spend a good amount of their day with a technology rather than their parents, they don't get enough time to learn human values and relationships.

If we look at AI from a human perspective, the technology is designed to assist us and make our life more convenient. It, however, cannot teach as human values and ethics. Regardless, the technology seems to be winning the hearts of parents and it is expected to carry out that purpose more efficiently in the coming future.

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