Our AI future just knocked on my door

Today, I got triple smacked from a new breed of AI, and I'm mind-blown. What should we tell the kids?

Our AI future just knocked on my door

Our AI future just knocked on my door 1024 732 Looking out Loud

This is a Daily Moment—short perspectives on life and times through a dad’s eye.

I feel like I just got triple smacked from the future.

This morning, an email pointed me to Riffusion, an AI-music maker that can turn text into beats. The “typing to jazz” example is very cool.

Later, I was listening to a NYT podcast on ChatGPT, a new AI-driven chatbot by OpenAI. I joined, played around, and was blown away. I asked it to write a story, tell me the history of the world, and give me some tips on parenting. And it did all of those things instantly and interestingly, with perfect grammar and human-level flair.

Just after, I went into Notion to check my to-do list, which included adding a note to show my kids ChatGPT. I was greeted with a pop-up inviting me to join the Notion AI waitlist. It claims it will allow me to, for example, type in “help me prepare a great meeting” and get back, well, an outline and tips for creating a great meeting. If it’s anywhere near what I saw in ChatGPT, it’ll be interesting.

WTF just happened? 🤯 More importantly, what’s about to happen next?

My mind instantly jumped to my kids. This will shape their reality, permeate their daily lives, and affect the job market in ways we can’t imagine.

So how do we prepare our kids for this (very quickly) emerging AI space? Here are my first few thoughts:

  • Let them play and imagine. Exposing kids to these technologies, in controlled and monitored settings, gives them an idea for what’s out there and how these tools might be used. By letting kids experiment, they first become aware of the more obvious possibilities, then they begin to imagine ways to use these tools that adults may not have thought of yet. I’m very curious to see the kinds of things my kids will ask ChatGPT.
  • Critical thinking. Can you trust the information ChatGPT tells you? Deep fakes and fake news are increasingly vomited across the internet. This type of AI will make all that way worse. Make sure your kids know how to question the source of what they hear. Teach them to ask “Is that true?” Caution them on sharing info before double-checking the facts.
  • Adaptability. AI has been poking its head into our daily lives in small ways over the past decade—Google autofill and autonomous cars are two very different examples. But ChatGPT feels like a different breed. And it hints that big societal-level change may be on its way. How do you prep a kid for that? Adaptability and flexible thinking. You can start by exposing kids to new ideas and perspectives, and different ways of thinking and being. Break routines, try new things, and demonstrate that continuous learning is for everyone.
  • Social skills and empathy. Instant access to all of human knowledge is a remarkable superpower. The ability to generate new knowledge with a simple prompt will transform human work and life. But knowing how to relate to and interact with other humans will matter even more. Communication skills, empathy, and kindness are things that we a parents must help our children to develop.

There’s been AI hype for decades. But this feels different. I’m sure my views and reactions will evolve over time. Watch this space. It’s about to get wild.

(Update May, 2023: ChatGPT is now a worldwide phenomena, becoming the fastest growing app in internet history. I’ve since updated the header image with an AI-generated image from Midjourney.)

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