Artificial parenting: New horror story

Artificial parenting: New horror story

One of our few constants is that we invent excuses, devise one pass-time or another so we might interact with like-minded souls. No matter how committed an individual is to one

adventure or another that buy-in is proportionate to the

opportunity for human warmth it affords. Everything from the conviviality of a winter card drive in a busy pub to the tribalism of football are examples of an activity contrived for a purpose other than its own.

One of the formative and hugely positive examples of this relationship building is the bed-time story a parent might share with a child. Not only does that happy goodnight deepen relationships, stimulate imagination and inculcate a love of the written word it expresses real affection.

It is sad therefore to record that technology may be replacing books at bedtime. More than a quarter of parents now turn to home assistants, apps and voice notes to tell their child a sleep-well story. Time-poor parents, or parents who imagine themselves time poor, are turning to artificial intelligence to provide artificial parenting. How impoverishing.

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