AI and ChatGPT …. What Is ChatGPT and Is It Safe for Kids?
The development of AI is increasing at an astonishing rate with high profile tech companies pouring billions of dollars into powerful online chatbots thus finding new ways to integrate them into our daily lives and more significantly, into the lives of our children.
The question to ask is, are our children ready for this?
ChatGPT, the AI language model from OpenAI, has been in the news since late 2022, given its ability to instantly respond to complex questions, write poetry, generate code and translate languages, among other tasks, all within seconds. GPT-4, the latest version introduced in mid-March, can even respond to images. Many companies have followed suit in launching their own A.I. chatbots, including Google with ‘Bard.’
However, despite these instant, impressive and endless abilities the information that can be accessed can also serve up harmful content, inaccurate information and unhelpful stereotypes and biases. In a world where ‘fake news’ is rife, A.I. can also be capable of providing convincing information and responses that are both lacking in fact and turn out to be completely made up.
As parents and school educators we should be open to exploring this technology alongside our children and young people in order to work together to think critically about the strengths and weaknesses of this technology, so that we can support our children in its safe and sensible use.
Tips on exploring and testing this technology with children as a family –
Experiment together – set up an account with one of the providers – explain to your child that a Chatbot is a type of machine that uses information it finds on the internet to answer questions – then ‘play’ with the bot, ask it a question and compare the information to answers found on traditional search engine, let your child’s curiosity ask a bot a fun and creative question like coming up with a poem in the style of their favourite popstar etc.
Talk about how the Chatbot makes you feel – responses can be very human-like in their interactions, explain to children that this is a machine, even when the bots respond with ‘I’ and give impressions of having their own emotions and personalities.
Become familiar with the technology and how it works – the technology is incredibly complex, but can be explained to children and young people in terms of a network that is a mathematical system that takes in and analyses huge amounts of information and data from lots of sources – so it may not always use the most reliable information.
Staying informed about new developments in A.I. – as many of the major platforms such as Google, Leta, Instagram and WhatsApp all incorporate A.I. into their products it is an area that will continue to grow and become more connected to our lives. A.I. is fast becoming a feature in schools, particularly for older year groups. As a result, the need to understand what it is, where it is developing and its implications for children, parents and schools both now and in the future is significant.