Generative Artificial Intelligence

As parents, we’re always on the lookout for ways to enhance our children’s lives and prepare them for the future. In recent years, generative artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as an innovative technology with the potential to revolutionise the way we live, learn, and work. While this technology presents exciting opportunities, it’s important to acknowledge the potential fears surrounding it. By understanding generative AI as a tool, we can help our children harness its power for the greater good. I don’t think that it is an understatement to write that we are at a civilizational crossroads given the stresses on the system from both AI and ecological breakdown. Let’s consider AI here, appreciating that it will remain a complex and unpredictable matter for years to come. 

Generative AI, a subset of artificial intelligence, refers to computer programs that can create or generate new content autonomously. It can compose music, write stories, design graphics, and even create entirely new languages. One of the most popular examples of generative AI is OpenAI’s GPT-4, a powerful text generator capable of creating coherent and contextually appropriate content.

The opportunities generative AI presents are truly exciting. It can enhance the educational experience for our children, providing them with personalised learning tailored to their strengths and weaknesses. Imagine a virtual tutor capable of designing custom lesson plans, offering real-time feedback, and adapting to each child’s learning pace. This technology has the potential to democratise education, ensuring that every child, regardless of their background or location, has access to a high-quality, personalised learning experience. That is, if they have access to computers and the internet. This could also exacerbate the digital and socio-economic divide.

Generative AI can also spark creativity in our children by inspiring them to explore new ideas and think beyond traditional boundaries. It can serve as a creative partner, providing suggestions, generating ideas, and even offering constructive criticism. As our children grow up in a world increasingly driven by innovation, embracing generative AI as a creative tool can empower them to excel in their chosen fields.

Despite the opportunities, the rise of generative AI can be intimidating. Concerns about job displacement, ethical dilemmas, and even fears about AI “taking over” can leave parents feeling uncertain. It’s important to recognize these concerns, but also to understand that generative AI is a tool, not an end.

Generative AI is not a replacement for human ingenuity; it’s an enhancement. As parents, we must teach our children to view AI as a collaborator, rather than a competitor. By learning to harness the capabilities of AI, our children can enhance their own creativity, problem-solving skills, and innovative thinking. And of course, since we are all learners, the same goes for adults.

Will AI give us more time to do other things or suck us in further? Rather than reject it, what would it take to bring about futures in which we thrive?

Generative AI is a tool, like the calculator or the washing machine. It may open up new possibilities, allowing us to focus on what matters, relationships with self, others, and the world. It may give us more time and space to come together. Or it may be taken over by corporations and create further divides, more wealth inequality, and a dystopian future where we are all connected yet disconnected. 

We must grapple with these possibilities, for we cannot stand still, because nothing stands still. AI will become more and more prominent. That is inevitable given the forces of capitalism. It is now up to us to channel our energies to open up spaces that might not have been opened up before. 



Dr. Benjamin Freud, Ph.D.

WS Director of Teaching and Learning

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