IEEE put out some survey results on Thursday, in the form of this infographic
, highlighting the way that Millennial parents of “Generation Alpha” kids think about artificial intelligence as it applies to parenting. (If you’d rather read the results in text, here’s the press release
that spells them out.)
Taken for what they are—a handful of data points in a sea of data points about Millennials—the results are interesting to read. Here’s a sampling of the findings:
About two-thirds of Millennial parents (63 percent) would rather have AI help them live independently in their golden years, while just 37 percent prefer to rely on their own children, the study found.
Two in five Millennial parents of Generation Alpha kids (39 percent) have either complete or a great deal of trust in AI to help diagnose and treat their children if they become sick. Almost half (46 percent) have some trust.
According to the IEEE survey, a majority of Millennial parents (80 percent) say AI technology increases their expectations that their Generation Alpha babies will learn faster and more than they did, while for 20 percent, expectations are the same or less. In addition, three quarters (74 percent) of Millennial parents say they would consider an AI-powered tutor for their child.
Nearly half (48 percent) of Millennial parents of Generation Alpha kids say they would be likely to get a robot pet instead of real pet if their child asked for one, according to the survey. In addition, fathers (55 percent) are more likely than mothers (42 percent) to get a pet robot for their kids.
Perhaps because I’m technically aged out of the Millennial demographic by a few months and spend a lot of time thinking about AI, I’m a little more pessimistic about the promise of AI in the short term (and definitely in the present) than many respondents appear to be. Technology—namely, mobile, cloud and Google—certainly have affected the way I parent compared with parents (and just the way we live, in general) but I honestly can’t think of how AI has materially affected my parenting or even my daughter’s life so far (save for getting used to speaking to Alexa).
I can state with some certainty that some areas, like medical diagnosis, will be largely AI-driven in the decade to come. Some not-insignificant percentage of cars might
be autonomous by the time by daughter gets her driver’s license, and I don’t suspect she’ll get a summer job in a factory. But other areas, including education (I would argue) and nannies (40 percent of Millennial parents say the are likely “to supplement or replace a human nanny with a stay-at-home robonanny), are much further off than that. (For a great reality check on household robots, listen to the ARCHITECHT AI & Robot Show interview with Melonee Wise
of Fetch Robotics.)
I also would never buy a robot pet. There are some lessons in life that only a flesh-and-blood thing can teach.