SXSW 2021

"Alexa, Set Reminder to Design Good AI for Kids"


AI technologies like digital assistants (DAs) must be designed with children’s wellbeing in mind. Our interactive and intelligent technologies experts will cover how and why DAs should be designed as tools that support (rather than replace) human intelligence and ingenuity. We’ll also consider whose user experience digital assistants are designed for and why this is influencing children’s reliance on them. Moreover, we’ll discuss diversity and inclusion and what it means for kids who don’t speak “standard English.” As concerns about children’s attachment to technology grows, how can devices be designed to promote healthier habits? Audience members will be provided with insights about the development of these technologies, challenges and benefits, and strategies for improvement.

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  1. Attendees will have a better understanding of the challenges and limitations of current AI for children and diverse communities.
  2. Humans are teachable, and we learn from AI. Specific strategies and methods can be used to design AI that is better suited for children.
  3. Policy and regulations have uses and limitations. A broader issue is how to use AI to cultivate skills and equitable systems we value as a society.


  • Sharon Strover, Professor and Director of the UT Technology & Information Policy Institute, UT Austin
  • Jakki Bailey, Assistant Professor, UT Austin
  • S. Craig Watkins, Professor and Director, Institute for Media Innovation, UT Austin
  • Reed Coke, Senior Machine Learning Engineer, Kungfu AI


Adrienne Dawson, Research Communications Manager, The University of Texas at Austin

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