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You Ask, I Answer: AI-Enabled Parenting Tools?

Donna asks, “Super curious to hear your thoughts on tools like AI-enabled baby monitors and other AI-enabled parenting tools. What do you think?”

The challenge of tools like AI-powered anything are twofold: what happens to the production data? And how was the model trained that the tool is built on? Most products and services don’t reveal the training dataset, and without that information, you have no idea how biased the model is – which makes relying on such a tool inherently dangerous. Watch the video for a full explanation.

Disclaimer: I am not a qualified medical professional and this post is not medical advice. Seek a qualified healthcare professional for concerns about the health and welfare of your children.

You Ask, I Answer: AI-Enabled Parenting Tools?

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

In today’s episode Donna asks what I think of this AI powered baby monitor? My thoughts on it? Well, there are two things on the topic of any kind of AI based child care solution or any AI based solution period, which is the production data and the training data.

So production data is pretty straightforward in terms of what things I would be concerned about.

Number one, of course, is privacy.

What happens to your data? Particularly if it’s if you’re your child, when it is uploaded to a service? Is it stored securely? Is it How is it processed? How does the processing occur, what information is being gathered? How is it encrypted etc.

And those are all things that Any reputable solution providers should be able to give you answers to about how they treat their data.

That’s that’s easy stuff.

The more difficult thing and particularly in this use cases, this is a product that is claiming to do image recognition from live video feed and identify when your baby has turned over to to what is considered to be an unsafe sleeping position.

Here’s my challenge with this type of analysis.

I feel like it can low parents into a false sense of security and is not a substitute for actual parenting.

So that’s one side second side is the training do any AI solution has to have a training data set that is that info is important by Footage samples that tell it like this is what to recognize this solution is a supervised learning solution, right? You’re looking for a specific use case, a human being in a certain position, and you want to recognize it and then use that to trigger the basis of some kind of alert.

So how does it do that? What was the basis for comparison? What is the model trained on? And was the model trained on a robust enough data set? So the classic textbook error in this kind of case is the the folks who wrote a simulation to wrote a model to identify wolves to differentiate wolves and dogs.

did all this testing all this training data and they loaded in and then in the lab, it worked perfectly, but when they rolled it out, it failed miserably.

Why when the scientists decompose the model, it turns out it wasn’t recognizing the wolf that all was recognized whether there was snow or not in the in the pictures, all The pictures the walls had snow on the ground.

So it was a case where the model was not well supervised.

When it comes to something like this, think about all the different environments that you can have in a crib.

Yes, in theory, a crib should be a plane background, with no toys of distractions not but this is human humanity we’re talking about everybody’s environment is set up differently.

lighting setup differently, and most critically when it comes to human beings.

There is a tremendous amount of bias in AI data sets of images and videos of human beings.

Most training data sets tend to skew heavily towards Caucasians people with lighter skin and of European descent, which means that if you if a company does not disclose their training data, then there’s a good chance that they did not train on people of African descent, people Asian descent, children with differentially abled, and so, to make the broad claim that the oldest product is going to help, you know, save your kid’s life without having detailed information about how the model was trained, I personally would not feel comfortable relying on such a thing now that said, Unless you own a like a 10,000 square foot house where, you know your kids literally all all the way on the other side of the, the the facility, and you can’t hear from one room to the next.

As as a parent of two kids.

We have a real small house Our house is like 1200 square feet.

It can hear, you can hear everything whether you want to or not.

And so I would question the need for this product in general.

If you’re there, and you’re you can hear your kid crying and moving around, okay.

infants are not quiet.

And if you’re not there will if you know if the product is to try and stop Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, if it’s anything like a heart attack, you have a couple of minutes to react before you need to go and do something before the damage becomes irreversible.

And so I don’t know how much youtility this product is I I my opinion, my feeling my emotion about it is that I think it’s taking advantage of parents in some ways, in the sense of, well, you know, you’re you’re deathly afraid that your kids going to roll over and die.

And certainly, as a parent, nobody wants to lose, John.

No matter what the statistics are, if it’s you.

It’s awful.

But I feel like it’s Probably product is a solution in search of a real problem.

And it takes advantage of those fears that parents have, particularly these days where people have become so incredibly risk averse, that they will buy stuff that may or may not be helped them out.

I don’t think this product will do any harm, right, you install it.

As long as you don’t abdicate your parenting responsibilities, it’s not going to do any harm.

But I don’t know that it will provide any help and I don’t know the cost is worth it compared to a traditional baby monitor if you want to use just a traditional old fashioned one.

That is just sound when you wirelessly transmitted on a standard radio frequency, no cloud, no internet involved just good old fashioned radio transmit that you can get at Target or Walmart or wherever for 3040 bucks.

I feel like that’s probably just as good a solution in this case.

If that is a serious concern, and if you believe that, and if you’re able to be a present parent and and unless you yourself have a medical condition which you just can’t hear things you see, the AI monitor is quite not going to help either way.

So the key things, though, are what happens to the production data? What happens to the test data? The training data, how well was it trained? How diversity was it trained? And does it solve the problem that you’re asking you to solve? I would, I guess I don’t think the money’s worth in this case.

But if you got extra money and you have no idea what to do with it, I guess it doesn’t hurt.

As always, please leave your comments below in the comments box subscribe to the YouTube channel the newsletter, I’ll talk to you soon.

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