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A.I. is here to stay. What do parents need to know?

Cheating concerns have many parents worried if the tools will harm their kids.

FORT WORTH, Texas — We've seen the headlines. Aritifical Intelligence - A.I. - is everywhere lately, it seems. And so are the worries about how it can possibly impact our kids. 

Is it a powerful learning aid? Or a quick pathway to cheating and bypassing schoolwork?

“I think it’s an amazing tool to help children learn," says TCU professor and A.I. expert Dr. Beata Jones.

Her computer science Ph.D. focused specifically on the technology which - while in the news a lot lately - has been in the works for decades.

If you haven't used any A.I. software or websites yet, the technology is truly incredible. There are literally thousands of tools out there that fall under the A.I. umbrella. ChatGPT is perhaps the most famous, capable of answering complex questions or even writing essays, all based on user prompts. 

Other tools are capable of creating images or video from scratch, and experts say this is just the tip of the A.I. iceberg. 

That level of creative power at someone's fingertips raises an obvious question: How do you stop students from cheating? Though perhaps A.I.'s impressive capabilities outweigh the risks.

“You can think about ChatGPT or some of its alternative platforms as a personal tutor," Jones says. "It can provide guidance on how to solve problems."

And those features aren't just useful for students, but parents as well, who can use A.I. to brush up on their own knowledge to better help their kids.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for parents who may not be versed in Calculus or high school science to get help with homework problems," Jones says.

But with great power comes great responsibility. Obviously nobody wants kids having computers do their homework for them. So Dr. Jones says educators will have to adapt their teaching practices, assigned work and tests - just as they have over the years with other tools like calculators or the internet. 

But until then, she suggests parents familiarize themselves with A.I. resources in order to truly understand their uses and better teach their kids.

“Get to know the technology itself before you allow your children to use it.," she says. "Discuss with children what’s appropriate and inappropriate use of the technology.”

Ignoring technology won't make it go away, reminds Dr. Jones. Rather, this is an opportunity for parents to teach their kids how to be smart about artificial intelligence. 

“The future is really about human computer collaboration," she says, "and we need to get our children ready for that.”

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