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Software Engineering

How to talk to kids about AI, and China’s emotional chatbots

In the past year, kids, teachers, and parents have had a crash course in artificial intelligence, thanks to the wildly popular AI chatbot ChatGPT.

In a knee-jerk reaction, some schools banned the technology—only to cancel the ban months later. Now that many adults have caught up with what ChatGPT is, schools have started exploring ways to use AI systems to teach kids important lessons on critical thinking.

At the start of the new school year, here are MIT Technology Review’s six essential tips for how to get started on giving your kid an AI education. Read the full story.

—Rhiannon Williams & Melissa Heikkilä

My colleague Will Douglas Heaven wrote about how AI can be used in schools for our recent Education issue. You can read that piece here.

Chinese AI chatbots want to be your emotional support

Last week, Baidu became the first Chinese company to roll out its large language model—called Ernie Bot—to the general public, following regulatory approval from the Chinese government.

Since then, four more Chinese companies have also made their LLM chatbot products broadly available, while more experienced players, like Alibaba and iFlytek, are still waiting for the clearance.

One thing that Zeyi Yang, our China reporter, noticed was how the Chinese AI bots are used to offer emotional support compared to their Western counterparts. Given that chatbots are a novelty right now, it raises questions about how the companies are hoping to keep users engaged once that initial excitement has worn off. Read the full story.

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