I’ve often said that in their factory settings, smartphones behave like children: they want your attention all the time, they don’t share your mental map of what’s important and what isn’t, and they haven’t learned the cues that help adults navigate social situations.

So I perked up with I saw Elizabeth Spiers, who I often listen to on Slate Money, make a similar argument:

As the mother of an 8-year-old, and as someone who’s spent the past year experimenting with generative A.I., I’ve thought a lot about the connection between interacting with one and with the other….

It is common to describe A.I. as being “in its infancy,” but I think that’s not quite right. A.I. is in the phase when kids live like tiny energetic monsters, before they’ve learned to be thoughtful about the world and responsible for others. That’s why I’ve come to feel that A.I. needs to be socialized the way young children are — trained not to be a jerk, to adhere to ethical standards, to recognize and excise racial and gender biases. It needs, in short, to be parented.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if it turned out that all smart devices need to be parented, to one degree or another?