Are Artificial Intelligence Devices Safe for Kids?
Artificial intelligence has the potential to the way that kids learn. With its personalized, highly adaptive, multi-sensory nature, it can bring an immediacy to the learning experience that engages students and stimulates their memories in much more powerful ways than traditional classroom learning does. Nevertheless, many parents and educators alike worry about the safety of these devices.
In short, artificial intelligence devices are safe as long as we remember their limitations. A key risk factor in the use of AI is the fact that even sophisticated artificial intelligence devices are always at risk of hacking techniques that can manipulate them to act in undesirable ways. In terms of AI use in edtech, this could have a number of negative outcomes, including confidential data breaches and the malicious alteration of course content. The installation of high quality security systems is a must for all AI devices, and kids should be trained to spot online conmen and attempts to breach their data (for instance, phishing attacks).
A second risk factor for using AI in education is the fact that like all technology, AI can be subject to glitches and computer errors. The acknowledgement of this risk can lead educators and their students on to a teachable moment. Kids should be taught to check all the information that they gain through AI based edtech against at least one other source that is known to be reliable.
Finally, there is a human, emotional element to education that yet cannot be replicated by AI. Imagine discussing a poem in the classroom, for instance: a large part of literary criticism has to do with the human emotions provoked by the poem, and here a student’s interaction with their human teacher is an indispensable aspect of learning. When relied on too heavily as a teaching tool, AI has the potential to isolate students from the human engagement that is vital to true learning.
Able to provide adaptive feedback, fun digital interactions, and rapid responses to questions, AI is surely here to stay in the field of education. That said, it should always be treated as one educational tool among many, and AI devices should never be relied upon as the sole means of teaching children. Are you an educator who uses AI in the classroom? What other risks and challenges have you found to be associated with artificial intelligence devices in your own practice?