Your Little Toddler is Part of the Real AI Generation

By:  Roozbeh Aliabadi (ReadyAI)

When I was growing up, naturally like many others, my first words as a toddler were “mom”, “dad” and ironically “plane” – yes I still have a huge passion for flying.  However, my toddler cousin first few words include: “mom”, “daddy”, “Alexa” and “Siri” and notice the last two are virtual assistants.

To my little cousin and many more toddlers around the world, Alexa is not just a virtual assistant.  Alexa is the home DJ to play music on Spotify, the reminder to take the roasted chicken out of the oven – mostly for her dad, make phone calls when mom can’t find her phone, change TV channels because dad doesn’t want to get up and get the remote, or dim the light mainly because – again –  dad is too ‘tired’ (lazy) to get off the couch and do it.

The bigger story is that my little cousin’s relationship with Alexa is becoming increasingly common.  I don’t think parents should panic about their kids saying, ‘Alexa’ or ‘Siri. Any word we, as parents,  tell repeatedly comes to an early word for little kids, look at my little cousin’s third and fourth words.  Because as we probably say ‘Alexa’ or ‘Siri’ often because we start a sentence with it to play a song or check the weather forecast.    So anything that generates a response is a likely candidate for an early word for our kids- no matter what it is. If you think about it, this is one of the main reasons why “mom” or “mama”  is such a convenient word for kids to learn early on. After all, if a kid says it, someone, mostly moms, may come and give them a bottle – it is a pretty good bargain, too bad it doesn’t work as we grow up.

The more significant matter is the fact that today’s’ toddlers are the first real generation to grow up with everywhere AI.  We are in a world in which almost any question being answered, item purchased or impulse fulfilled is possible with a voice command like; “Alexa, order toilet paper,” or “Ok, Google, remind me to buy blueberries at WholeFood this afternoon,” or “Hey Siri, do I need an umbrella today?”.  Today’s cool technologies for us raises profound questions about how our kids interact with technology, with other kids and how it might shape their interactions and development as they grow up.

The fact is that more smart home devices like Echo by Amazon, Google Home, and many others will be in more and more homes worldwide.  Today voice assistant platforms, like Apple Siri, Google Assistant, and many others are built into our smartphones, which gives AI even greater entrance in our everyday lives.  So the adoption of both (work and life) only is going to grow.

Parents should keep in mind that like all new and fresh, new and proven technologies are taken for granted by each generation that has never lived without them, the technology’s existence will be an ordinary part of my cousin and this toddler generation.    

We recognize that our children’s interest and interactions with Alexa or Google or Siri is somehow linked to their natural curiosity.  Naturally, children also get excited because they see their parents initiating communications which act as a reinforcer. So we shouldn’t be surprised as our children view interaction with AI or any intelligent technology as they think about somehow personified technologies as something in between animate or inanimate.  

For example, I don’t know what my little cousin thinks about Alexa.  There are so many anecdotes that young children believe there’s a little person in the smart device or there’s a person on the other end of the exchange, like a telephone perhaps.  But the bigger picture is that my little cousin like so many other young kids is always trying to figure out how to conceptualize these devices. Some research even suggests that small children might even understand these devices like Amazon Echo or Google Home as a piece of technology, but they also see these gadgets in psychological terms as even having emotions and feelings, as even being able to make friends or even deserving of moral treatment.  I believe this sentiment will grow rapidly more pronounced as artificial intelligence grows increasingly complex and more real. Amazon has picked up on this as it is offering so many kid-friendly contents for Echo devices, like podcasts that play bedtime songs and stories. They even provide audio games like Disney’s Cars Adventure app, giving the super famous McQueen turn-by-turn directions in a race, which is cool. Jeff Bezos didn’t stop there. He also launched a fantastic and colorful Echo Dot specifically for little kids.  

I do recognize the big concern parents have about reducing using technology or screen time inline with recommended age-appropriate limits.  I am happy that my little cousin – at least for now – likes playing with grandma jewelry, pots, and pans, dancing and reading (pretending of course) actual books.   However, many parents today view home AI devices like Echo or Google Home as one way to interact with kids without the use of screens. We don’t know if there is a consensus yet on the impact on children – positive or negative.    But all in all, I believe these devices ultimately add more value to our children’s lives. However, I am not suggesting that Alexas of the world should be used to replace human interactions.

I still believe in reading real books for little kids.  We need to remember something fundamental with our small children that we cannot let anything come in between the human conversation.    Just look at parents reading actual books to their little kids, they break when they turn the pages and sometimes play around or go off on side stories about how they once saw an elephant at the zoo or in the jungle.  This back and forth conversation with little kids is the best way they can learn as little kids. It is essential for us to remember that our interactions with devices like Amazon Echo or Siri or Google Home are not a real or authentic conversation at all, even though these devices are meant as conversation agents.   Our interactions with smart devices are truly superficial, thin and lack most of the hallmarks of person-to-person conversation. Think about it this way, typically as little children are developing they honestly pick up on languages rapidly in the first few years of life. But this doesn’t just happen because small children are good at learning this skill; it also happens because grownups – typically moms – are very good at teaching it to their little kids.   Alexa is indeed – at least not currently – able of conforming to a child’s speaking ability in real time. Today smart devices are nowhere near the sophistication of a human, or more specifically, the complexity of a mom or dad who can instinctively coach their children in picking up her first language.

The truth is that Alexa, Siri, Google Home, and so many other smart devices or I should say the growing feature of AI may not be the healthiest relationship – by human standards – in my little cousin’s life – along with so many small children around the world, but it’s a presence that will surely be long-lasting.   We owe it to our children not only to help them understand and utilize the powerful tools of AI but also to thoughtfully weight its moral and social implications early on. As I see my little cousin interacting with her mom and dad, the human side of me reminds me that Alexa, Siri, or Google Home are not just stories about AI and machines. More important, it is a story about every one of us.  The story about the next generation, with free will that allows uncertainty and peril. We must prepare ourselves and the next generation for both.



  1. zvodret iluret December 11, 2018 at 9:13 pm - Reply

    Amazing! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It’s on a completely different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Wonderful choice of colors!

  2. zvodret iluret December 16, 2018 at 5:20 am - Reply

    Hiya very nice website!! Guy .. Excellent .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your website and take the feeds additionally…I’m happy to find numerous useful information here in the publish, we’d like develop extra techniques in this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .

  3. furtdsolinopv December 22, 2018 at 12:36 am - Reply

    I’ll right away clutch your rss as I can not find your e-mail subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Please permit me recognize so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  4. seo plan template 2018 January 25, 2019 at 10:33 pm - Reply

    nscuxnvxi tbxre ukfbegk nhma qtrrnxgglkepdix

  5. Hello would you mind letting me know which web host you’re using?
    I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different browsers and I must
    say this blog loads a lot quicker then most.
    Can you suggest a good web hosting provider at a fair price?
    Thank you, I appreciate it!

  6. Kyrgyz wedding February 8, 2019 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    Thanks for a marvelous posting! I actually enjoyed
    reading it, you are a great author. I will be sure to bookmark your
    blog and will come back very soon. I want to encourage yourself to continue
    your great work, have a nice evening!

  7. black magic revenge spells February 11, 2019 at 3:39 am - Reply

    Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.
    Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! However, how
    can we communicate?

  8. poltergeist February 13, 2019 at 9:38 am - Reply

    We are a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our
    community. Your web site provided us with valuable information to work on. You have done an impressive
    job and our whole community will be grateful to you.

  9. Best New rapper Toronto February 15, 2019 at 9:14 pm - Reply

    Today, I went to the beach with my children. I found a sea
    shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and
    said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.”
    She placed the shell to her ear and screamed.

    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.

    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally off topic but I had
    to tell someone!

  10. love February 18, 2019 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    Keep on working, great job!

  11. how to get youtube subscribers February 19, 2019 at 1:38 am - Reply

    You are so awesome! I don’t suppose I’ve read through anything like that before.
    So great to discover another person with a few genuine thoughts on this issue.

    Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This web site is something that’s needed on the
    internet, someone with a bit of originality!

  12. Nike Pegasus 35 February 25, 2019 at 5:34 am - Reply

    isapltmjzu,Hi there, just wanted to say, I liked this article. It was helpful. Keep on posting!

  13. Nike Air Max 270 February 27, 2019 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    qqosnssauk,Hi there, just wanted to say, I liked this article. It was helpful. Keep on posting!

  14. NFL Jerseys 2019 March 1, 2019 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    udwtzu,Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I actually enjoyed reading it, you will be a great author.I will always bookmark your blog and will wppusugrk,come back from now on. I want to encourage that you continue your great writing, have a nice afternoon!

  15. Salomon UK March 3, 2019 at 10:23 am - Reply

    fceulbqv,Some really nice stuff on this website, I enjoy it.

  16. Melodee Morissette March 3, 2019 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    If you’re looking for an email list, head on to Emails 4 Less. Very cheap email packages and high delivery rate. http://bit.ly/emails4less

  17. Virginia Culmer March 3, 2019 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    Awesome post. Do you run a business and need clients? Simply click my name and get 100k visitors to your website. Thanks!

  18. Wholesale Cheap NBA Jerseys March 4, 2019 at 7:27 am - Reply

    famigjylul,This website truly has alll of the information and facts I wanted about this subject and didn?t know who to ask.

  19. Cheap NFL Jerseys March 5, 2019 at 1:37 pm - Reply

    lquoml,Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I actually enjoyed reading it, you will be a great author.I will always bookmark your blog and will ldzlurcle,come back from now on. I want to encourage that you continue your great writing, have a nice afternoon!

  20. Adidas Shoes March 6, 2019 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    bwluha,Some really nice stuff on this website, I enjoy it.

  21. pandora charms March 7, 2019 at 7:40 pm - Reply

    vhctgcn,This website truly has alll of the information and facts I wanted about this subject and didn?t know who to ask.

  22. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus March 14, 2019 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    fmvovo,Definitely believe that which you said. Your favourite justification appeared to be on the net the simplest thing to remember of.

  23. Yeezy 500 Utility Black March 15, 2019 at 3:32 pm - Reply

    rsssekmcgm,Definitely believe that which you said. Your favourite justification appeared to be on the net the simplest thing to remember of.

  24. beautiful blog March 17, 2019 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    120246 243528hello!,I like your writing so considerably! share we communicate extra approximately your post on AOL? I want an expert in this space to solve my difficulty. Maybe that is you! Looking ahead to see you. 24800

  25. branding image March 18, 2019 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    952399 310744Just a smiling visitor here to share the really like (:, btw fantastic style and design . 990849

  26. Nike Air Zoom March 18, 2019 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    ytdxrslcj,Thanks for sharing such an amazing blog. I am so happy found this informative blog.

Leave A Comment