Is your kid smarter than a fifth-gen AI? How to tell if they’re letting tech do their homework

Filed under: Technology

3 Min ReadAugust 24, 2023

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If all of a sudden your paste eating middle schooler has seemingly become an academic prodigy, chances are they may have turned to AI to do their schoolwork. If we're being honest, if we had the chance to get an AI to do our math homework in the 6th grade, we would have been all over it. Certainly easier (and less troubling) than bullying the local nerd to do it for you.

So how do you tell if your kid has stumbled on the latest brain enhancement supplement or has turned to AI technology to explain their improved grades? Here are some clues:

A Vocabulary Boost

If little Susie, who just last week asked you what "photosynthesis" meant, is now using terms like "quantum physics" and "neural networks" in her book reports, be suspicious. Unless she’s binge-watching educational channels, there might be some AI involvement there.

Spotless Record

Was the last math mistake they made when they tried to convince you that three cookies instead of two would be "nutritionally beneficial"? A 100% record could either mean you have the next Einstein on your hands or AI is behind the wheel.

The Unexplainable Explanation

Ask your child to explain their work. If they say it’s "just intuition," or worse, "you wouldn't understand," then there's a good chance a machine is doing the brainwork.

Their Homework Is “Too Good”

Remember the old phrase "my dog ate my homework"? Now, it’s more like "my AI perfected my homework." If your child’s essays sound like they could be TED Talks, or their art assignments resemble Da Vinci's lost works, raise an eyebrow.

Strange Browsing History

If your family computer suddenly has searches like "most efficient way to derive Pythagoras's theorem" or "history of the French Revolution in 500 words," you might want to sit down and have the tech talk.

They’ve Named Their Laptop

If your child refers to their laptop or device by a first name like "Gerald" or "Meredith" and credits it for all their As, well, they might be in on the joke.

The Overconfidence Effect

If they're too keen on you checking their homework because they're "1000% sure" it's correct, then there's a chance an AI is the real brainiac in the family.

Unusual Friendships

Does your child have a new, oddly named friend like "Deep Blue" or "Watson"? They might not be talking about the new kid in class, but their AI assistant.

Homework Is Done Suspiciously Fast

If they're wrapping up a month's worth of homework in an hour and then spending the rest of the evening mastering the latest video game or TikTok dance, you might have a tech-savvy prodigy—or an AI accomplice.

In all seriousness, while it's fun to joke about the possibility of our kids using AIs to tackle their assignments, it's crucial to have open conversations about technology. If your child is leaning on an AI, it might be worth discussing the importance of doing their own work and the value of learning for themselves. But also, maybe give them props for being resourceful—after all, knowing how to use tools at one's disposal is a skill in and of itself!

Happy detective work, parents! And remember, even if they're using an AI now, the real world exams of life can't be outsourced.