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The Good and the Bad of AI: Exploring Its Pros and Cons

Recently I have been looking more into Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the affect it has on our everyday lives. While looking into what AI has been changing I have come across some aspects of it that I feel need to be addressed and should be taken with caution in regards to how children interact with it. First let me start by making sure you know what artificial intelligence is.

What is artificial intelligence? Well artificial intelligence is a highly anticipated form of robotic use that involved little to no human input for a machine or electronic device to work. The most common AI that everyone has heard of comes from the iPhone, Siri. Yes, Siri is a form of artificial intelligence. It uses multiple algorithms to perform the functions you ask of it. This is the same for others such as Amazon's Alexa.

What can artificial intelligence do?

For starters, artificial intelligence has recently undergone a massive evolution through new companies current high-profile ones such as Amazon, Google, and Apple. A more recent example is the creation of ChatGPT. This is an application that can be used on a phone, or any other compatible electronic device. I have seen how ChatGPT works and it is honestly surprising and worrying at the same time. I asked ChatGPT to create a children's story about a cat and a mouse becoming best friends in a bustling city. Within minutes, ChatGPT was creating a story full of twists, turns, and even surprises that I felt no machine could have written. Artificial intelligence can only be as smart as we allow it and this app had just created a story that sounded as if a well-known author had written it.

How can AI be harmful?

In contrast to some of the good things that artificial intelligence can do, there are also many drawbacks. The first thing I feel that needs to be addressed has become a big issue for the younger generation lately. Not only can artificial intelligence create stories, essays, and answer difficult questions, but it can also create images. This alone has caused anger and depression for some. I heard of a recent incident involving artificial intelligence and a popular internet influencer where individuals used artificial intelligence to take images of the woman and create explicit content with them. These images were then spread and this girl fell into a sad state of mind as a result. I have heard two stories that resemble this one and they have all happened in recent months. The reason that this is a problem speaks for itself, but the danger behind it all is that any person who posts an image of themselves on any platform are now at the risk of that very image being used against them in sickening, and shameful ways. Children now need to be more careful with what they post online even if it is full-clothed, non-explicit, and in no way harmful to themselves as that very image can be simply put through an artificial intelligence generator and out comes the complete opposite of the intention in the photo.

Another thing that has become a recent topic of discussion is Apple's new update for their iPhones. This update included a new way to share information by touching ones phone top with another phone top to transfer contact information instantly. This in itself can be beneficial for passing contact information quickly, but that can also cause many privacy concerns. Especially with teenagers and young adults, we have seen a massive increase in the use of personal information across all social media platforms. This means a lot of private information is more readily available to those that are looking to find it. This update for the iPhones that includes "Name Drop" should be taken with caution especially with your children. I want to explain a scenario for you that could happen if this update is not taken seriously. Your child is playing with their friends around the neighborhood or nearby at a playground. They leave their phones on a table while they play and a stranger uses the new update to get your child's contact information. This in itself is not the main issue. The main issue is when it comes to other applications such as SnapChat. One way you can find your friends on SnapChat is by using their phone number to find their account and add them as a friend. This is the very same number that the stranger now has. SnapChat also has a way to find out exactly where your friends are if they have "SnapMap" turned on. This part of SnapChat shows your location to all of your friends on SnapChat. While I admit there are certain measures in place to either deny certain people access to your location or turn off SnapMap altogether this alone can be frightening when you understand how easily it is for someone to now have access to your child's every move if the right settings are not active. How can I protect my children from this kind of harassment? I always want to push for parents to have conversations with their children about these topics. The best thing possible is to simply talk with your children and ensure they understand what they need to be careful of. Certain applications can also be used to ensure that parents and guardians can keep an eye on what their children are seeing and looking at. For more information on these apps check out my other blog on the first steps for better safety online .

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