As parent you’re constantly worried about whether your child is eating enough, if he or she is happy, whether you’re skewing their views on the world, or if you’re exposing too much of the world to them. It’s a never-ending cycle of love, happiness, worry, and confusion. It’s impossible to be with your child at all times (although we know you wish you could be) so being able to talk with your child about what is going on in their lives is important. Sometimes they’ll tell you stuff, other times you’ll get short answers like “It was okay” or “nothing” when you ask them things like how their day was or what they’re laughing at.
This is when you pull out your how-to books and get caught up on the latest parenting trends that promise to help you understand your child better. But, nowadays, you not only have articles to rely on to help you be a better parent, you have artificial intelligence too. That’s right. Parenting is now aboard the AI train with no plans of slowing down.
Artificially Intelligent Machines can Help Bridge the Gap
From apps to toys, AI technology is being implemented in order to help parents “bridge the gap” as well as for Social Goodness. While parents are often left in the dark when it comes to figuring out how to balance all aspects of parenting from scheduling doctor’s visits to ensuring their child is in the right frame of mind and keep up with their children financially, apps have become a why for parents to leverage the power of AI technology to help them be a better parent. (source)
This is especially apparent when you look at toys on the market today. Cozmo is a small robot buddy, as the developers call it, that senses and learns to understand its environment, the people around it, and grows from all the experiences it faces. This toy uses artificially intelligent technology to, “understand people and remember its history with them, so if you play with Cozmo every single day it’ll be more interactive.” If you’ve seen the Disney Pixar movie Wall-E, you’ll have an idea for what Cozmo is modeled after. This toy is essentially like a companion for kids; A friend that is aware of surroundings and the people in its path, making each situation it experiences something fun and new. You can check out an intro video below.
But Cozmo isn’t the only tool out there for kids. If you’re one of those parents who constantly worries about bullying and the effects it may have on your child then you’ll be happy to hear about SafeKidsPro. Basically, SafeKidsPro uses AI to “emulate brain function and identify the potential intent of someone sending multiple instances of concerning content over a set time period, while also taking into consideration the severity of the language used and how someone may feel as the recipient of the information.” This is one of those tools that is breaking the barrier for parents in a digital world. (source)
On another angle, many developers are starting to play around with the idea of an artificially intelligent nanny. Which kind of reminds of us that old Disney channel AI movie, Smart House, which is basically about an AI house that monitors the kids, cooks, cleans, and when it begins to feel neglected takes on a holographic form and locks the family in the house. While this might be an extreme it’s important to note that this house learns from its owner. It learned the type of food the owners liked and when they need to substitute greasy, sugary foods with something more nutritious. This is similar to what an AI nanny would be like.
But how much better of a parent would this kind of AI technology be? Many people already have a fear that artificially intelligent machines will eventually take our jobs, should they be scared about AI taking over parenting as well? Well, Paul Smith at PWC raises an interesting point on the subject, “I’m seriously worried about how I educate my learning engine. I’m worried about how I control what I expose it to. And I’m wondering about how I check that what I feed it, is in fact right.”
Essentially, in order for AI to learn how to be a proper nanny for your kids and family it would have to take in its surroundings in order to learn. Which, according to Smith, would leave you being the parent to your AI machine in order to ensure you’re making it into the best AI machine it could be for your family. But that kind of defeats the purpose doesn’t it? (source)
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