I am glad I won’t have to sit any history exams about the 2020’s. What with all the chaos that was Covid and now the chaos that is AI, kids are going to have one heck of a lot of learning to do.

AI, is it helping and making the world a better place or the opposite with the increase of AI and misinformation?

I have been on the fence about this, in some instances, the likes of ChatGPT and Gemini have been great tools. I use them for brainstorming and fleshing out ideas. And sometimes rewriting things more elegantly as I tend to write as I speak! I have a whole list of ways it can be used in running a business here. But from lots of experimenting, I can conclude that it should not be used for anything factual. At all. It totally makes things up or mis-interprets the data.

Which is worrying when we have a generation of kids growing up thinking that the answer to everything is just a quick google search away.

AI and Misinformation: Google is quickly losing its trust factor

I wanted to write about this because unless you are in the trenches, you probably don’t know this is happening.

From September 2023, Google made a series of changes on how the algorithm finds answers to your queries. This resulted in the drop down answers you now see at the top of the search page. And this is where the problem lies.

Those answers are scraped from websites and so users, many times, don’t click through to the website like they did before. This means that take the answer at face value rather than checking to see if the information has come from a reputable source.

But it saves me time”, you say!

Yes, but… for starters the people that create that content, the answers to your questions and now losing their livelihood because they need the traffic to the website, whether that be from advertising income, affiliate income or products and services that they sell. Without the traffic, there is no income. So this change Google has made is putting thousands and thousands of small businesses out of business. And even many of the big players are losing traffic hand over fist.

And if they can’t make a living, then they have to close the site – it costs a pretty penny to run a website! That means that specialist curated information is going to start disappearing and that information that was available to you for free will be gone.

Equally disturbing is the AI and misinformation that the new Google AI generated answers give you.

I do a LOT of research online for the 193 Little Adventures Club. The last few months, it has been a nightmare trying to find factually correct information. When I do a search for an answer, I often have suggestions from Google that make me scratch my head. After more digging, I am finding more and more often that the original answer was completely inaccurate.

Google’s AI answers force me to spend more time researching rather than less.

There have been some funny memes doing the round after AI picked up information that was clearly meant as a joke, like adding Elmer’s glue to your pizza to stop the cheese sliding off (originally posted on Reddit 10+ years ago as a joke reply) or the report that the CIA use black highlighters (a satire post from The Onion).

The sad thing is, it’s getting harder and harder to figure out the fact from the fiction and if we start relying on AI to find the answers for us, we really are going to be up shit creek without a paddle.

Alternatives to Google Search

If you are not happy with the way Google is going, try one of these, I haven’t used any of them enough to give feedback on them yet:

How do we navigate the AI conversation with our kids?

Clearly, our kids have been born into the age of AI and there are a lot of conversations that we need to have. I don’t believe burying our heads in the sand and hoping for the best is the best route forward. We need to be proactive and, of course, all this is new, so we have no one to follow on this path.

Whether we like it or not, AI is now part of our lives. The very least we should be doing is educating ourselves and our kids to make the most informed decisions.

Navigating the AI conversation with kids is indeed crucial in today’s tech-driven world. Being proactive and thoughtful about these discussions can help our kids understand AI’s potential, limitations, and ethical considerations. Here are some structured steps and questions to help you get started with these conversations:

Conversation starters to use with the family

What is AI?

Question: “Do you know what AI stands for and what it means?”

Discussion Point: Explain that AI stands for Artificial Intelligence and describe how it involves computers and machines performing tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as learning, problem-solving, and decision-making.

Examples of AI in Daily Life

Question: “Can you think of any examples of AI that you use or see every day?”

Discussion Point: Mention examples like voice assistants (e.g., Siri, Alexa), recommendation systems (Netflix, YouTube), and smart devices.

Uses and Benefits of AI

Positive Applications of AI

Question: “How do you think AI can make our lives easier or better?”

Discussion Point: Discuss how AI helps in healthcare (diagnosing diseases), education (personalised learning), and entertainment (video games, movie recommendations).

AI in Education and Learning

Question: “How do you think AI could help you with your schoolwork?”

Discussion Point: Talk about AI-powered educational tools that offer personalised learning experiences and resources.

Ethical Considerations and Responsibilities

Bias and Fairness in AI

Question: “Do you think AI can make mistakes or be unfair? Why?”

Discussion Point: Explain that AI can be biased if the data it learns from is biased. Discuss the importance of fairness and transparency in AI.

Privacy and Security

Question: “What information do you think AI should or shouldn’t know about you?”

Discussion Point: Discuss the importance of privacy, the risks of data sharing, and how to protect personal information.

Thoughtful and Safe AI Usage

Critical Thinking and AI

Question: “How do you decide whether to trust information or advice given by an AI?”

Discussion Point: Encourage them to think critically about the information they receive from AI, cross-check facts, and understand the source of data.

Ethical Use of AI

Question: “How do you think we should use AI responsibly?”

Discussion Point: Discuss the ethical use of AI, such as not using it to deceive others, respecting privacy, and understanding its impact on society.

Future of AI

AI and Future Jobs

Question: “How do you think AI will change the kinds of jobs people do in the future?”

Discussion Point: Talk about how AI can automate routine tasks but also create new job opportunities requiring different skills.

Learning about AI

Question: “Would you like to learn more about how AI works? Why or why not?”

Discussion Point: Encourage curiosity about AI technology and its development, possibly exploring coding and AI-related subjects.

Additional Tips for Parents

  • Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with the latest AI developments to provide accurate information.
  • Encourage Curiosity: Foster an environment where children feel comfortable asking questions and exploring AI topics.
  • Use Real-World Examples: Relate AI concepts to things your kids are already familiar with to make the conversation relatable.
  • Balance the Discussion: Highlight both the potential benefits and challenges, such as AI and misinformation and the ethical situations associated with AI.

Wrap Up

Navigating the AI conversation with kids involves a balance of educating them about the technology, its applications, ethical considerations, and encouraging responsible usage. By asking open-ended questions and fostering a curious mindset, you can help your children understand AI in a thoughtful and informed manner.

For more resources to help you and your kids, sign up for the free jojoebi resource library…

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