A few weeks ago our daughter shared an interesting and insightful story about our grandson. Our grandson is in kindergarten and despite his age he is a very good reader. He reads and writes quite well. He’s also a young man who has grown up in a home that has an Amazon Alexa which he is very familiar with. He uses it often to get weather information that determines whether he can go outside after school and even what kind of clothing he can wear. He is so proficient with the technology that he ordered a movie without his parents permission a couple of years ago. He regularly listens to music and frequently sings along with what is playing.
Like most emerging readers he still has problems decoding unfamiliar words. Our daughter told us that she heard him spelling out words for Alexa and asking “her” what those words were. We have other grandchildren who are familiar with this kind of technology and use it to gather information and play music as well. These children have never known a time when there wasn’t an Alexa or Siri to answer questions. Before Google, Amazon, Apple and others put information at our fingertips we relied on encylopedias, library card catalogs and information in books, magazines and newspapers.
Yesterday New York City decided to ban ChatGPT in its public schools. This is a technology that’s just an extension of smart devices which many school children carry in their pockets. Are these folks so naive that they think that the children in their school system are not going to use these technologies despite their Luddite like approach to educational governance.
Just today I read that Microsoft is partnering with OpenAI (the founders of ChatGPT) to build a better search engine that uses this technology. Wouldn’t it make more sense to talk to students about the ethics of artificial intelligence?