PARENTS with an Amazon Alexa are sitting on a time-saving goldmine.
While it will never replace the real thing, parents can program their smart home device to tell their kids a bedtime story.
Amazon snuck in the new feature, called ‘Create with Alexa’, last last year.
The feature uses the power of artificial intelligence (AI).
It is called generative AI, which uses prompts to weave new and tailored fantasy stories for children.
But even parents can get in on the fun.
The technology lets children and parents chose from themes offered by Amazon, such as underwater, enchanted, forest and space exploration.
Families can then pick a character, a descriptive word and colour which will give the AI inspiration to spin a unique tale each time.
The stories are fleshed out with background music and audio dialogues created by the Alexa device.
The technology has been built with children in mind, one Amazon executive said when the feature was first announced.
The feature has three key safeguards, such as content filtering, training the AI in a toxic content-free dataset and setting up a structured and restricted experience.
Creating a boundary that the AI cannot cross is important.
It means the AI cannot reel off a story that is not suitable for children.
Eshan Bhatnagar, head of product for Alexa AI at Amazon, said: “We wanted to avoid the garbage in garbage out kind of tendency of AI.
“We are being cautious, and conservative in our approach to how we want to expose some of the generative capabilities to our customers.”
However, a study by the University of Washington published last year, titled ‘Hey Google, is it OK if I eat you?’, found that AI can lead children to believe it is smarter than it actually is.
Children who use AI devices often, may grow to see them as all-knowing objects of authority, the study warned.
Helping children to understand what’s going on under the hood is key to keeping them safe from trusting AI wholeheartedly.
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