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Pros and Cons of Generative AI Art for Kids and the Workforce

Has your child come home from school or a friend's house talking about generative AI art? This technology allows kids to create art using a computer and simple keyword phrases. Is it a good idea for kids to engage with this futuristic tool? In this post, I discuss the pros and cons of generative AI art for kids and help you decide if it's something your child should try. I also help you to envision the impact of this exploding technology on the workforce.

  • Today's kids are growing up in a world immersed in artificial intelligence. They have a rapidly evolving opportunity to learn to partner with machines in creative pursuits such as art, music, poems, and more. Progressive curriculums are popping up that embrace this trend such as the Creative AI program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The opportunity to unleash human creativity through this relationship with technology is exciting!

  • Generative creative AI tools let humans do the creative work and computers do the structural, computational work. These tools allow kids to learn in partnership with AI, things like how to create a Haiku poem. Just as we learn to use a calculator for math, so that we can focus on the numbers that need to be used instead of doing the calculations, these generators allow us to focus on the creative content and allow the computer to make our ideas fit into the required structure.

  • Generative AI Art is a tremendous learning tool for kids! For example, kids are able to learn about the work of famous artists by applying specific artists' styles to their own artwork. Imagine a child typing into DALL-E 2 the phrase, "a boy rides a horse in Van Gogh style". They could then change it to a Picasso style and compare the 2 side-by-side. See below for this example that demonstrates how this is a far more fun and engaging way to learn than through traditional memorization methods!

  • Kids who are comfortable with Generative AI Art can be tempted into the creation of deep fakes, a term for deceptive photos and videos that are digitally altered by AI.

  • Deep fakes have become so mainstream that TikTok has a deepfake Keanu Reeves account, Unreal_Keanu, that has more than 8.7 million followers!

  • With cyberbullying so prevalent and kids' confidence around using AI growing, deep fakes provide a powerful visual tool to purposefully harm others' reputations and mental health.

  • Ethical issues such as who owns the AI-generated artwork are outstanding.

  • Further, equitable access to this powerful experiential learning tool should concern us as a society. This is a perfect example of the digital divide providing richer learning opportunities to those with more wealth.

Do I let my own family use it?

As with most technology, using generative AI art in moderation is something that I advocate for my own family. AI is increasingly infused into our everyday lives, and we must prepare our children to work in productive and positive partnership with it.

What does this technology mean for the workforce?

The use of generative AI art could potentially impact a wide range of workers, not just those in the creative industries. In addition to educators who are already grappling with the proliferation of this technology at all age levels, other examples of workers who might be impacted by the use of generative AI art include:

  • Sales professionals

  • Marketing professionals

  • Graphic designers

  • Web designers

  • Architects

  • Scientists

  • Researchers

  • Journalists

  • Editors

  • Translators

  • Trainers

The impact of generative AI art on the job market is likely to vary depending on the specific industry and the nature of the work being done. In some cases, the use of generative AI art may lead to the automation of certain tasks in their roles, thus leading to a loss of jobs. In other cases, it may simply be a tool that helps workers to be more efficient and effective in their jobs.

From my perspective, I encourage everyone, regardless of the type of work that you do, to quickly embrace generative AI in all its forms! Those who engage NOW will have a first-mover advantage as they learn to adapt and prosper in partnership with AI.

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