My 12-year-old nephew’s bedroom is a shrine to monsters. Intricate Lego dragons loom ominously atop bookshelves jam-packed with reference works for the handmade creatures he painstakingly crafts out of clay. Then there are the paintings. Dozens of them. Plastered over the walls. Giant squid, kaiju, dinosaurs, hulking tentacled beasts of his own invention.
His parents have gone to great lengths to nurture this burgeoning creative spirit. They make stop-motion movies as a family. His dad is teaching him 3D art on the computer. Together they’re learning to use Unity, the design tool behind video games like Hollow Knight, Cuphead and Pokemon Go.
But lately his dad’s been second-guessing those decisions. The reason? AI.
Thanks to the rapid development of artificial intelligence tools like Dall-E and ChatGPT, my brother-in-law has been wrestling with low-level anxiety: Is it a good idea to steer his son down this path when AI threatens to devalue the work of creatives? Will there be a job for someone with that skill set in 10 years? He’s unsure. But instead of burying his head in the sand, he’s doing what any tech-savvy parent would do: He’s teaching his son how to use AI.
In recent months the family has picked up subscriptions to AI services. Now, in addition to drawing and sculpting and making movies and video games, my nephew is creating the monsters of his dreams with Midjourney, a generative AI tool that uses language prompts to produce images.
The whole family is wrestling with the impacts of AI. His mother, my sister-in-law, is a high school science teacher. She’s tackling even bigger issues. She’s in the process of teaching an entire generation of children to interact with technology that could transform the workplace over the coming years.
The questions are many. How do we deal with the immediate issues of cheating and plagiarism? How do educators prepare children for a future working alongside AI?
And how do teachers, institutions and governments find room to plan for the future?
Reading, writing and AI
ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot developed by OpenAI, has been immediately transformative. And terrifying. Trained on almost incalculable swaths of existing text, ChatGPT takes prompts from users and generates surprisingly sophisticated answers. If, for instance, you ask for a chocolate cake recipe, it provides all the steps. Using ChatGPT can feel like conversing online with a human being who has access to endless repositories of knowledge.
Link to the rest at CNet and thanks to F. for the tip.