Can Alexa turn your kid into a brat?

By | June 14, 2017
FacebooktwitterredditlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail0

Experts at the crossroads of pediatrics, psychology, and AI say there’s a lot we don’t know about how virtual assistants might affect young, developing mindsJenny Radesky, a U-M pediatrician who studies how digital media shapes children, says research around how kids understand digital assistants is limited, and studies that do exist on children and robots suggest children see them as semi-animate — objects that think and feel but don’t eat or breathe.  A child who says something rude to Alexa and receives positive reinforcement — perhaps laughter from an onlooker or a response from the assistant — might repeat the same behavior in a different social context, Radesky supposed. But we just don’t yet know. “Maybe they should program Alexa to only respond to polite child voices,” Radesky said. “I’m only partly joking.”

Avatar
Author: News Staff

Contact Michigan IT News staff at umit-cio-newsletter@umich.edu.