We sat down with visionary thought leader Tina Sharkey to discuss the impact of AI and its promise for the future of families.
Tina is an active angel investor, global keynote speaker, coach, and advisor to tech-enabled startups and scaled enterprises, and on the Faculty at USC’s Iovine and Young Academy teaching entrepreneurship, community, and product creation at the intersection of modern brands and tech platforms. She has extensive expertise as a pioneer in building trusted, community-based brands, from iVillage, AOL, to Sesame Workshop, to Johnson and Johnson’s BabyCenter and Brandless, and many others where she advises and invests.
AI is everywhere these days, what personally excites you about generative AI applications?
AI has made me, in many areas of my professional and personal life, bionic. AI is not doing my work for me. It is like a supercharged research assistant or TA. I can go through 11 drafts and revisions in record time and as my prompting gets more and more sophisticated, my output speed for what I’m trying to accomplish keeps getting better and better.
I’m very excited about GPT4’s ability to create interactive games and personalized experiences. For individuals, groups, leaders, and students of all ages. From workshop design to time management, to personalized itineraries, fitness plans, and task management. Word games and poetry in the voice of famous poets and playwrights are all doable and a new way to teach and more importantly learn. We all have an on-demand tutor available to us at most levels. When you really learn how to dance with AI and learn how to prompt and apply it, it makes things super accessible and interesting.
As a professor, I ask AI to adapt my workshops for high schoolers vs early-career employees. But you need to know how and what to ask AI. AI unlocks a level of execution that I wouldn’t have had the time for, but now I’ve become a “promptologist”.
What are your aspirations for AI’s impact on home life and people’s personal identities?
As a mom, entrepreneur, operator, and investor, AI’s promise is to help us be more human with those we really care about. All that invisible tasking where we play a role as a working mom, a soccer mom, a schoolhouse mom, a scheduling mom, a carpool mom, a driving mom, a doctor mom, a social mom — they’re all of us. Those many modalities force us to be in constant alert and tasking mode, it doesn’t actually get us closer to the reason we had kids, which is to spend quality time with them.
How do you manage to be present playing, reading, or doing homework with your kids when you’re constantly trying to manage the ever-changing traffic of tasking? AI democratizes access to support for logistics and ops — which are not the most fun part of parenting. AI can copilot the tasks because tasks are tedious and infinite. The most fun part of parenting is raising your kids, not just organizing the play dates, but facilitating them. Playing, reading, relaxing, dreaming, wondering, and getting off of the screen. AI enables us to spend more time on what matters most, which is quality time with family.
Any ideas you’ve been thinking about to help with older adult populations?
We’ve become a very disaggregated society. Older populations don’t live with younger populations. Part of what keeps our brains and our minds and our souls nimble is interaction with other people. I don’t recommend replacing human interaction with AI because I think that’s a scary road to go down.
Having said that, as a proxy at times for being able to facilitate subjects of interest, whether it is flower arranging or the best basketball teams of all time — whatever your passions are — I think that older adults can really have a lot of fun with AI to pursue their interests, to stay curious and to continue learning longer.
We’re in a global crisis of trust — what is the dark side of AI?
Trust has been lost in institutions, government, and communities based on polarization and echo chambers in this country. The question is how do we build back? But before we get to building back, what might AI do to make those chasms worsen into canyons?
In the wrong hands and at the wrong times, synthetic media created by AI can have a dark side. If synthetic media takes the role of babysitter, tutor, and value creator, then you have to really be careful because those might not be the values that you would have taught your kids and your community.
What can we as investors and entrepreneurs do to address these concerns?
To start, we need to build layers to validate AI. We need to create filters to validate fact-based information. Labels, sources, and citations are all critically necessary. Obviously, taking advice from an influencer vs a credentialed doctor can be risky without sources.
AI is a tool, just like the calculator. When the calculator came out, did that mean we no longer taught math and counted on our fingers? No, of course not. We actually teach more advanced math today than we taught before because of calculators. So on a positive note, we’ll go faster and learn more because AI is an enabling technology that accelerates our ability to learn, process, study, and apply… it’s just happening so fast, that whatever we teach is old before the ink dries.
We asked Chat GPT: How AI is changing parenting?
AI is revolutionizing parenting:
- Personalized support & guidance
- Enhanced education & learning
- Monitoring & safety advancements
- Emotional assistance & coping strategies
- Improved health management
- Time optimization & task automation
- Community building & support networks
AI enhances parenting but must be used responsibly, preserving human connection and ensuring ethical practices.