Children in the Age of AI, Robot Best Friends & Contrarian Parenting Beliefs - E270

· Singapore,Women,Parents,Podcast Episodes English


"I think finding win-win solutions may be the most contrarian thing. Not thinking of the world as zero-sum. I grew up pretty competitive, but I'm not sure if that's the best thing actually. It might be more productive to teach them to be less competitive with others and more about better global outcomes. I don't know how to teach that though. There's a set point in children where they don't like losing, so even when you try to explain to them why this loss is irrelevant or it's in their head, they get upset." - Shiyan Koh


"Teachers don't want students to generate essays using ChatGPT and submit them, but there could be a learning process where you write an outline in class first, then feel free to interact with ChatGPT at home and go through the iterative process of improving the essay. Educators need to restructure how they assign work and get work out of kids because so much can be automated. It doesn't have to be a zero-sum game. There are ways to incorporate automation into the learning process that would improve the quality of learning." - Shiyan Koh


"I think spirituality and values are important for my child. If my child picks a different faith or spirituality in the future, that's okay. For now, it's nice to provide them with a sense of steadiness and human symbolism. The internet is a great teacher, but it has its own implicit morals and philosophy. If you give your child three hours of TikTok on Sunday morning, it will teach them about what is popular, and desirable, and what they should or should not do. The internet and biased algorithms provide a level of values education by themselves. So, I want to teach my child a sense of wonder about life." -Jeremy Au

In this discussion between Jeremy Au and Shiyan Koh, they talk about the impact of artificial intelligence on parenting and the challenges and opportunities that come with it. They discuss how AI can help parents in various ways, such as monitoring children's behaviour, providing personalized learning experiences, and automating routine tasks. However, they also recognize the potential risks associated with relying too much on AI, such as the loss of human connection and the potential for bias. Regarding parenting in the age of AI, they emphasize the importance of balancing technology and human connection. They suggest that parents should view AI as a tool rather than a replacement for human interaction and that they should stay informed about its potential risks and benefits.

When it comes to their hopes for the future of their children, Jeremy and Shiyan express the desire for their children to be well-equipped to navigate the rapidly changing technological landscape. They want their children to develop critical thinking skills, emotional intelligence, and adaptability to succeed in an increasingly automated world. Overall, the discussion between Jeremy Au and Shiyan Koh highlights the potential benefits and challenges of AI in parenting and the need to approach technology with caution and balance. They both hope for a future in which their children are prepared for the demands of a changing world and equipped with the skills needed to thrive in it.



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Jeremy Au: (01:24)

Morning Shiyan. We're gonna be discussing one of our favourite topics being a parent, and then we combine it with our day jobs, which is panicking about artificial intelligence and the internet and the future. And then.


Shiyan Koh: (01:38)

Is it panicking? I feel like it's being delighted by.


Jeremy Au: (01:41)

Delighted by, okay. I don't know how you feel, and, okay. Well, let's get into the feedings. Okay. That's a great way to start. Like what do you feel, you're saying you're feeling excited.


Shiyan Koh: (01:54)

Yeah, it's amazing. I mean, there's that classic quote, right, which is any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. And I think watching, the generative ai both on the text and the image side is magical, right? That you could like, talk to it and it does stuff for you in, totally natural language and often at better quality than what you expected or possibly what you could do yourself. Definitely, on the art side, I could not generate that quality of art myself. So I think that's pretty, it's pretty delightful. But you were speaking of fear, so I mean, I mean we can talk about that as well, which is, I think a lot of people fearing being replaced. What does that mean kind of for the structure of society and jobs? And I think that's also real.

That's part of capitalism and also new jobs will be created, right? So it's not like it's totally, like it's a total zero, right? Some things will go away and then new things will get created and people have even new and crazier jobs. So, I don't know delighted, but I'm an optimist, right? I think now I have to like caveat all my conversations with like, Hey, I'm an optimist. That's my job. I have to be an optimist. So you should take all my comments in that spirit.


Jeremy Au: (03:13)

And the one thing about sci-fi in the modern generation is that optimism is very uncool. It's all about, you gotta get your doomsday, a lot of prep.


Shiyan Koh: (03:22)

Well, I was never cool, so incredibly consistent.


Jeremy Au: (03:26)

Well, I mean, yeah, I think there's fear, right? I mean, the truth of the matter is that this is not a new sensation for so many jobs, right? You look at blue-collar jobs, like, manufacturing is a good example, right? There's so much technology and robots and equipment. There's a focus on efficiency. You see factories closing, they're opening up in new places. So I think this dog-eat-dog world has always been happening in the manufacturing slash blue-collar kind of jobs, right? Like, how many people weave by hand these days? Right? No. It's like all mechanicals, all factories. It's mass production. I think what's interesting is that this is the first time it's happening to highly-paid white-collar jobs. Right?

In the sense that, you have AI that is effectively able to do twice the output, for much cheaper, for example, for lots of jobs, writing would be a good example, right? Where there's poetry, well, they can't write great poetry, but there's a lot of business writing, right? That's getting auto-automated out. I think we also have some, progression where it's only a matter of time before it already passes the legal bar exam, passes the medical exam. Right. And it's just gonna keep progressing. Right? So I thought it was just an interesting dynamic where I kind of recognized like, first of all, like, AI doesn't really change the future if you are a plumber and you want your child to be a plumber because it is that wave of technology doesn't interface with the meat space real-world dynamic. Right.

But I think I noticed that a lot of the middle-class parents that I'm part of, a cohort of are frankly worried, right? Because they're just like, okay, what do I teach my kids? Right. How do I prepare them for that future? Right? And it always reminds me of that ad, right? Some teacher agencies had like future proof your children. Right? And I was like, anyway, I just thought it was funny. Like, how do you make sure that your child is like, thriving in that world, right? That's gonna be so different in 20, 30 years.


Shiyan Koh: (05:21)

Yeah, I mean, I think every parent wants that for their kids, and I think it's probably like a good reckoning that, what is it? Like children are not vessels to be filled, right? Like we, there's this sort of like, oh, if I can just fill them with the right activities or the right tuition like all the right stuff is in their brains, then they can go off. Go to fancy schools and make tons of money and like cut cushy white colour jobs. And it's like, and I don't think that narrative has been true for a while. And I think this is an acceleration of that. And so, yeah, like, we have to teach our children to like, use their brains to tap into their, empathy and humanity and all those sorts, sorts of things. And, you can't just be good at, at, at regurgitating a bunch of stuff cause you're never gonna out regurgitate a computer.


Jeremy Au: (06:11)

Yeah. I remember growing up and, I got to read encyclopedias, right?


Shiyan Koh: (06:16)

Yeah. You can still read encyclopedia-like, so I think this is the thing that's true, right? Which is like, what is the value of knowing how to spell right? I have a primary one child right now, and we are going through, every week we have a spelling test and she's sort of like, why do I need to know how to spell? Like she knows there's like autocorrect and a spell checker, all this. So, so what's the value of learning how to spell it, in the age of, spell checkers it's sort of like, well, what's the point of knowledge?

Having any knowledge in your brain in the age of GPT and, and AI and things like that. And I mean, I think that you still need to have a base of knowledge in order to use AI effectively. It's like how you take your base and use it to like to answer more questions and solve more problems that are gonna be, valuable. It's not the act of having all these physical knowledge items stuck in your head that is gonna be valuable. And so it's like, well, what's the point of learning how to spell right? Well, one is like, You wanna be able to communicate effectively. And if you're constantly misspelling things, you're probably gonna miscommunicate a bunch of stuff, which is not your intention.

So like your goal is to communicate effectively. This is gonna help you in your goal. You wanna signal to people that you're well-educated, right? Cuz people will think differently of you if your spelling is complete garbage. But yeah, I mean, I, I think that's like an interesting, she doesn't really buy it, she's constantly machine that would do her homework for her, and it's sort of like, yeah, that machine sort of already exists, but still having to do your homework. Sorry. Sorry, dude. So, so, yeah, I mean, I don't know, like, I mean, your kids are a little younger, so you don't have to worry about spelling tests and things like that.


Jeremy Au: (07:56)

Well, two years old and pretty much a one-year-old. And I think the magic question for us is like, yeah do we think about screen time? Devices? They love devices my two-year-old likes to walk around and pretend that she's carrying a mobile phone, taking videos of people.


Shiyan Koh: (08:12)

Yeah, because that's what you guys do, right? They like mimics.


Jeremy Au: (08:17)

I know. And so it's just, it is just like, ah, oh no, what have I done, is it too late to put the two face back in the tube? Right. But I think the thing is, you know what's true of course, is like what, what? There's a, what you teach the child. Right. And, when I was young I didn't know how to tie, tie, right? Because I went to a school that had ties. Right. And so, I was very privileged because first of all there were people around me who teach me how to tie, tie. And I remember I went to the library and they actually had a book on tie tieing, right? I all the different knots and obviously learned one, the half wins are knot and I, and I just did it right. And it's crazy that there was a book on tying ties.

And of course, at that time there's the internet. So there were all these like written instructions because some weirdo on the internet, I was like, I feel like the world needs to know how to tie a tie. they were just, I mean I was a kid, it was just, it was a, it was like one of those like there's no advertising. It was just one of those forums. Right. And I remember looking at those things and then it was just like, yeah, there's no such thing as today. There's no such thing as a tie. A book even these days, right? Because it's called the internet, you get video, et cetera, et cetera. And I think there's a lot of similarities where I'm like, Hey, my kid's gonna ask me why is the sky blue, right? And then I'm going, I was supposed to answer the question, and now I think I should just give her like, I don't know, I wanna give her a device as ChatGPT. And then, before every prompt I write a reminder to it like you are talking to, a two-year-old or three-year-old, and do not say anything weird, and then just let the device educate my child on everything. Right. It's just like a magical storybook that just explains everything.


Shiyan Koh: (09:53)

Have you read Diamond Age?


Jeremy Au: (09:56)

Those are one of them, that is actually on my to-read books.


Shiyan Koh: (10:00)

But that is actually what ChatGPT is, right? Diamond Age. Like the young Lady's primer is the thing that answers all her questions and like Yeah, like, I mean, I think it's incredible that people are growing up in the age where they can get any question answered, and my child does not accept what I say to her. I don't know the answer to something. She will say, ask Google. Okay. And it is very funny because she has this notion of like, what does Google know? Google knows everything. And we have to explain that Google doesn't know everything. And some things you probably don't want Google to know. So, she doesn't accept that you don't know. She wants the answer. So I think these are like incredible tools, and to teach them to be more self-sufficient. To say, Hey, hey, you have a question. Go ask, go ask and like read the answer and then tell me what you think about that and what are you gonna do with that answer from there. I think that's actually incredibly powerful. Yeah.

How do you give them that without them getting distracted and going off to YouTube or TikTok and doing other random stuff, that's what you don't want? It's like, oh, you wanna know how lightning works? Like here, knock yourself out. Go talk to ChatGPT about that.


Jeremy Au: (11:19)

I mean, the curiosity part is true, right? Of every child. And I'm still curious, thankfully. And so, yeah, I use ChatGPT all the time, right? So I was recently learning, I had some bad cholesterol numbers, so I was literally learning about the mechanism of cholesterol, I had YouTube on half the screen and I ChatGPT on the other side. And I was just like, there's some stuff that the video explained. And after that, I was like, okay, why do blood vessels get inflamed? And as I said, I asked ChatGPT on the side cuz it's easier. I was just thinking to myself, man, like if I was like a teenager and, studying biology, this is so much easier. Right? Because now you have the visuals, you have YouTube, you have ChatGPT. Like it's, I think it's a great, I dunno, what's the word?


Shiyan Koh: (11:58)

It's like a great levelling-up tool, right? In that, you have a bit of interaction. So like, I've seen examples like people who are not native English speakers, they, they basically can say like, Hey, here are the bullets I wanna say, right? And then it'll sort of write in prose for you. And that's like a way to like to improve your own writing, right? Because it's your own ideas being transformed versus saying like, oh, I'm gonna read the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, or something. That's an example of good writing. And then I as a non-native English speaker am gonna try to like, improve my writing.

That's like a much harder leap versus, Hey, here are things I wanted to say anyway, and now I can kind of see it and you can sort of interact with it. Right? So even like, I think teachers are like, oh I don't want students like wholesale to generate essays using ChatGPT and submit them, right? But you could imagine a learning process where it's like, Hey, why don't you write an outline in class first, right, of what you think you're gonna do and then go home and feel free to interact to ChatGPT but go through the iterative process of like, Hey, how can you improve this, right? What other ideas might you have? And maybe you come back out with actually a better-finished product, but not taking away the fact that you actually have to do some of the work yourself. Right. And so like I think teachers will, educators will have to figure out how to like restructure, how they assign work, how they get work out of kids because there's so much more stuff that can be automated. But it doesn't have to be a total zero-sum game is what I'm trying to say. There are ways, I think, to incorporate it into the learning process that actually would improve the quality of learning.


Jeremy Au: (13:37)

Yeah, I think there's a lot of opportunity for both educators, right? I think it, helps improve the lesson plans, and change how they're doing them. And I actually know a lot of teachers who are just happy around it because they're improving the lesson plan. And I think, the National University of Singapore has actually issued guidelines right, to teachers, and they're just basically saying essays are gonna be tough, because of ChatGPT and so we should do more group work, right? Or more experiential referral learning, or if you give them permission to use ChatGPT, but then ask them to reflect on whether ChatGPT answers are right or wrong. So kind of counter-debated. I think those are all interesting dynamics for sure.

And I, as you said, I think it would accelerate learning and reinforcement for so many folks around the world. I think that's really the plus. I think where the anxiety is, is like, well, in that case, what professions or how would you do the job in the future, right? And the truth of the matter is that I think about it as like, I'm doing jobs that, my parents and grandparents had no idea about. Right. I'm in technology, I'm doing in finance, investing. It was like this job didn't exist Right? Effectively 50 years ago in this part of the world. Right. So, I'm just kind of curious about Yeah. How do you prepare? Right. The next what's the word for the next wave, I guess.


Shiyan Koh: (14:52)

You have to make them good at learning.


Jeremy Au: (14:59)

So we had to teach them how to be good at learning. Sorry. It's ironic, but also true.


Shiyan Koh: (15:04)

It's not ironic. I think that's what you have to do. Like you don't know what the future's gonna be like, so you need to be good at learning new stuff, right? That's how you deal with the future and you need a strong enough base of eternal education. I think we talked about this last week, right? Which is like you can do numerate and literate, obviously like read, do some math, but then have some of these base building blocks so that when you do face a new situation that does require different skills you can approach from first principles and be like, okay, like, well, how would I think about this?

And if I don't know the answer, how would I find the answer? How would I find people who have the answer? How would I assemble these little pieces together to come together to put together a solution, right? But I think that's the thing that people need to learn, which is how do you solve problems, right? And how do you look at data and, and figure out a way to get there? And I don't think a lot of schools are oriented around that. So like even this point about like, okay, you can't assign essays, you need to like to assign group work or something, right? Like, I've often thought that we should actually just assign people problems to solve rather than like, we are theoretical demonstrations of knowledge.


Jeremy Au: (16:27)

Hey, it reminds me of demonstration knowledge. Last time, trivia was a really great asset, right? That showed that you're smart, right? The fact that you had lots of trivia.


Shiyan Koh: (16:35)

Yeah, but it's pointless, right?


Jeremy Au: (16:37)

Pointless today. I mean, because of Google, right? But we still have game shows about people who remember all these random trivia stuff, right? Like who won the golf championship 20 years ago? Right.


Shiyan Koh: (16:46)

Who cares?


Jeremy Au: (16:47)

Who cares? But people used to be rewarded for that, right? As a social skill. And now you know, you'll be the weirdo talking about it randomly.


Shiyan Koh: (16:54)

Well, no, I mean, you can mean enthusiast, right? So if you're a golf enthusiast and you can be like, oh man, that was an amazing match, blah, blah, blah. Remember when he did that thing? So it's like a thing to connect on, but like, is that what education should be oriented around? No. Right. I think education should be oriented around like, like, I would think it would actually be more interesting. So instead of like, Hey, here's addition, here's multiplication, here's like these. I was like, okay, like why don't you guys go and figure out how to, here's $10 to start. Go figure out how to go make something or sell something. You turn into a hundred dollars and come back and explain to us how you did it.

You would use all the math skills, but you'd use other things too. You'd like talk to people, you'd like, do all this sort of stuff, and then like, I feel like that's kind of what the real world is like. No one in your job is like, here, take this test for me and tell me like, get this thing a hundred percent correct. No, someone's like, sell this thing, go appease this angry customer. Like, like that's like you're delivering, we're, you're delivering solutions to something. That's why somebody pays you. And so why don't we actually teach people how to do that? Instead of like I said, weird demonstrations of knowledge. Like knowledge is useful if you can't apply it. Useless if you can't apply it.


Jeremy Au: (18:13)

I mean it's true that we had applications, we're not going to be sad to see you go. But I think definitely we see that, in our parent's time, the calculator didn't really exist. Right. You had to do everything by hand for multiplication and division. Right. And, I remember for the younger generations today, so many of them actually can't even divide a bill. So they have to reduce the calculator. Right. Even though it's like pretty obvious when I look at it. But yeah. Yeah, I think you see that. And, but because you have a calculator, you, everyone has a calculator and you have a pocket now, right? Is in your phone?


Shiyan Koh: (18:49)

Yeah, but I got the brain in my head. It works. I don't even have to pull it out. I just do the math in my head.


Jeremy Au: (18:55)

I can tell you right now that a lot of folks would rather use the calculator, right? And so I just think that there's a lot of like basic math skills that have extra feeding. And that's okay because we have a calculator anyway, like you said, right? So it's not as if we're missing anything, but when we don't have the calculator, then we're just kind of stuck, right? So kind of like captive to that technology, right? And another skill that I think will go, the way the Dodo going extinct is like driving, right? For example, like, the truth is I think, Horseback riding used to be a really important skill for the upper class, and the middle class would demonstrate they were on their way up. Right? And everybody who was like a certain level was like, okay, I can ride a horse. Right? Heck, you either make sure you're an official or a silver servant, or somebody could afford a horse, right? Now it's just a very quaint hobby that people have. Right. At specific clubs. Right. And I was thinking to myself like, yeah, my kids and me and my grandkids, it's gonna be quaint for you to drive your old car when you have self-driving cars and you can just like, I don't know, play Candy Crush version 27 while the car's going. So that's a skill that's gonna go extinct in the next 50 years driving yourself. So I think this is just a lot of skills that are just gonna go away. Yeah.


Shiyan Koh: (20:04)

But I mean, I think to bring us back to the question, which is like, what do you teach your kid at the age of ai? It might go away, but also, I mean, it's like, okay, well what if the ai has taken over and you need to escape and you don't know how to drive, I yeah, I dunno. I mean, hopefully, like it doesn't, you don't just become like a bunch of thinking cells without any physical skills. I mean, that'd be really weird.


Jeremy Au: (20:44)

I mean, I think one thing I do think about is that I think people are gonna raise a lot more digital children actually.


Shiyan Koh: (20:51)

They won't be able to avoid it, I don't you, can avoid it. And so, how do you, I mean, they want, they want devices all the time, and I, I don't like giving them devices. And I told them because it makes them zombies and it makes them really cranky. And I don't like dealing with cranky children.


Jeremy Au: (21:09)

I mean, I was thinking to myself like, man, AI plus Pokemon is an awesome combination. Like you're taking care of these Pokemon, and then the Pokemon's a Squirtle but then it just happens to say in a very, like, emotional slash engaging way. And, I just think that I, this, I think there's a sensation in my head that I think my child's best friend is gonna be the internet slash some robot personality. There's a lot of social robotics companies like Jibo. There's a bunch of them has just come out, right? Is this gonna become the best? Trying to be best friends with kids? I don't even know.


Shiyan Koh: (21:43)

Yeah, it's an interesting question, right? Everyone can deal with having more support in their lives. Yeah. And so maybe if kids do have like a really supportive, friendly sidekick that's kind of like helping them along, maybe that's not a bad thing.


Jeremy Au: (22:05)

Yeah. Brought to you by Disney. Well, I mean, the truth of the matter is I always tell people like, who does more and more education for kids? The Vatican or Disney?


Shiyan Koh: (22:27)

Yeah. But I don't know. I, I think it's interesting, right? I do think some, like an affliction of modern society, often is more isolation and loneliness, and so, I guess I wonder maybe there could be a world where everyone has their own, like, I don't know, what do you call it digital buddy? And they, they talk to your kid and you give them a bunch of training data that you've approved. Right? And, and chat and chat with him or her and, and, flag any issues that might come up. I know people who go through a lot of like, mental health issues and things that, and one of them is like they don't feel like they have anyone to talk to. Or they're in like weird loops and people get tired of talking to them and maybe there is a way to like to use technology for good and help people kind of work themselves out of that.


Jeremy Au: (23:47)

Yeah. I mean that's, I think that's the hopeful side of me. And then, I mean, I think the truth of the method is like, I mean, I, I, I used to be a gamer. I still game, but I find it really, really hard to not game, to be honest, right? Is this, if I start playing a game, it's addictive, right? And because I get drawn into it. And one thing I've had, I mean on a parallel note very quickly, I lost 20 kilograms over the past three years. Right. But part of that realization was just like, Processed foods are really, really, really hard to fight because I would eat all these Oreos and chips and I'd be like, wow, I can't stop. Right. And then, and then I blame myself for not stopping. Right. And after a while, I read some books like it was a great book called Salt, Sugar, Fat.

But it talks about the expose of the Industry, it's a billion-dollar industry and team on the other side. Right. They have the world's best food scientists, they make things delicious for you and literally, there's like memos that go around and saying like, the best thing about this product is that, it's delicious, but it doesn't fill you up. Right. We discover that you eat some of it. It gets, it makes you hungrier and wants you to make, and eat more of it. That's why you can, the truth is you can probably eat 5,000 calories of potato chips. You can't eat 5,000 calories of broccoli, right? Because potato chips kind of like are designed to this, be processed really quickly, right?

And there's literally slides that as just saying like, this is awesome. I mean, like, what was it, Pringle's ad is like, bet you can't just stop at one. Like that's that's a flat-out campaign for cigarettes. You can't stop at one cigarette. You can't stop for one hit of cocaine.


Shiyan Koh: (25:18)

What was the secret? How did you, how did you kick the processed food?


Jeremy Au: (25:23)

Well, I did this weird thing where I started at least on the internet. I, I'll tell you, the weirdest thing I did was. I started subscribing to all these health influencers' like processes. Cause I put a subscribe button, I put my email out and then I'll report the processed foods as spam. And so I was training the algorithm to only show me positive stuff and to like steer clear. Clearly, this person thinks Oreos are, abusive, they don't show me that stuff anymore. Right. I mean, that's what I was trying to do in order to guide myself, on the current, right? And so I think there's this dynamic for games as well, right? Which is like, I think in the past you're playing, I don't know, Tetris and, pong. Okay. That's one level, right? And then obviously I played lots of games, but now games are this, there's a huge team on the other side that's just making it very, very fun. But also that can play for a longer period of time, right? And so we talked about that in a previous episode the TikTok episode, which was like, the TikTok CEO doesn't let his child use TikTok. Right. Which was an interesting dynamic, right? Remember?


Shiyan Koh: (26:30)

Wait, is that true?


Jeremy Au: (26:31)

Yeah, he said like, the guy was like, do you let your child use TikTok? And he's like, oh, we have a great TikTok suitable for children in the US but we don't have that yet in Singapore. So I don't, my child doesn't use TikTok. And I was, Okay. Like I'm just saying like, I don't know, there's like a Coca-Cola executive, there are many Coca-Cola executives who don't drink that much Coke. Right. So I just, I'm just saying like, there are some things that you just need more, it's not just a parent and child thing, right? But it's actually like there's governmental regulation, right? And we talked about it, right? Which is a, would we be in favour of some government regulation around social media? Right. So I think there's something equivalent to ai, right? I don't know, maybe it's like, if you're an ai you have to disclose that you're an ai, I'm just saying. Right? Oh, another example is Instagram, right?

I mean, and live streaming. I have two daughters and I was looking at Instagram and I have this great account that shows all the Photoshopping that happens, like unrealistic yeah, yeah. And I was just like, and I'm just like so crazy because these filters not only work for photos, which I can't tell the difference, but they also work for video nowadays. Right. So TikTok released an AI video filter that makes you this tremendously good looking And I'm just like, and you can't tell if, and you can, and like they used to be able, like, if they raise your hand and put it in front of your face, you'll be able to tell us the filter because it, it breaks and now it doesn't break at all. So I just think there's like, I don't know, confusion on my part. Like, I don't know.


Shiyan Koh: (28:11)

I think that's back to like, you're obviously trying to give them the skills to regulate themselves, right? So how do you catch yourself when you're like, oh, that's too much? I need to stop. Or like, that doesn't feel good, how do I not go down? Like, so you're like, Hey, I need to stop processed foods, I'm gonna take action to counteract that. How do you do that? Yeah, I think that's interesting. Like we try to teach this thing. I don't know, it's, I think mixed success, right, is to sort of say like, when am I tired? Because sometimes kids will go past the point tired and then they become overtired and then like it's terrible. Like all hell breaks loose, right? And so we're trying to teach 'em this. Like, Hey, check in with your body. Are you feeling tired? And do you need to like to go to bed?

Do you need to wind down? Sometimes it works. Like sometimes they'll come and they'll like self-report. They're like, you know what? I'm kind of tired right now. I think we should go home. It's really hard, obviously, when there's like way more kids and they just wanna keep going, keep going, keep going. But like, I think, I don't know, we all need those little self-regulation spots, right? It's like, I've already had three cups of coffee. Maybe I should stop, like switch to water, pull back.


Jeremy Au: (29:29)

I think mindfulness might be one of those skills that I'll just have to teach my kids because the truth is well, the other alternative is, I don't know, you train AI to be there, I don't know, German Shepherd, to protect them from another ai. But I think mindfulness is, probably, a core skill that children should learn. I think otherwise, I think, I think you just get, I think everybody's trying to hijack you, right? Once, once you log onto the internet, like, like everyone's trying to hijack you, right? Stay long on this side. Read more. I'm on YouTube and I get stuck, cause I'm doing like, I'm a history guy, right? So I like reading history and Wikipedia and YouTube is just like, oh, here's another great history video about, I don't know, 18th-century silk weaving in India. And I'm like, oh, this is so interesting. And then sometimes just like, oh my god, Jeremy, you can't consume the internet. I tell myself all the time, it's like, Jeremy can't consume the internet. There's infinite content. There's more content than I can humanly consume, right?


Shiyan Koh: (30:29)

It is crazy. I wish I'd had this internet when I was a teenager, cuz I feel like when I was a teenager the internet wasn't that good. But like now you can like, learn anything you want on the Internet, right? It is kind of incredible. Like there was that guy in the last Olympics who like taught himself how to throw a javelin or whatever from India, and like made it to the Olympics. And it's like, that's kind of awesome, and like now I don't save manuals for anything because if I need it, I'll just like look it up on Google or YouTube, like, okay, how do I do this? Right on my coffee machine or whatever it is. So I, I don't know. I, I'm a little jealous of all these young people with all this free time who can like read the internet and, be way smarter, made more prepared for the world than I was when I was like a dumb 18-year-old.


Jeremy Au: (31:26)

What's a contrarian skill that you would teach your child? Okay. My, I think my one is, I think spirituality or values is something that I do think about. My friend asked me recently, and he was like, okay, why are you, bringing up your child in faith and so, so forth? And I said, yeah, honestly, if, if my child picks a different faith or version of spirituality in 18 years or whatever it is, I'm okay with it. Right. I'm not, but in the meanwhile, like, I think it's just nice for them to get rooted to human symbolism and some sense of steadiness. I don't know. And because I don't know what the internet is a great teacher and it has his own moral morality and philosophy implicitly. It's, which is not bad, not good, but I think we just sort of recognize that, if you give your child three hours of TikTok on Sunday morning in lieu of, whatever it is, yeah, TikTok is gonna teach you something right?


About what is popular, what is desirable what you should do, what you should not do and so I think, the internet bias education, bias algorithms, provide some level of values education by itself, right? So I think that would be my contrarian take is like, yeah, I think it's I would like to teach my kid, maybe a, a sense of wonder of the sublime and I don't know, life, right?


Shiyan Koh: (32:47)

Yeah. I mean, I'm not super religious. But I think the wonder that I really want my kids to have is about the physical world. So spending time outdoors in nature, like, it's like amazing nature, right? Like mountains and rivers and all that sort of stuff. You're just like, wow, the world is vast and amazing. And. I think a lot about shared humanity. Like, there's, you can go all over the world and people can seem very different, but they, at the end of it, they're, everyone is like a human being and like they're, they have a story and you should probably like, take the time to like learn what each person's story is. I think that's like something you hope they have. But I don't think that's particularly contrarian, yeah, probably. I think maybe what's the most contrarian thing to find win-win solutions? I think, not think of the world as zero-sum. I don't know. I grew up pretty competitive, and I'm not sure that that's the best thing actually. And it might, it might be more productive to actually teach them to be less competitive with others and more to think about like better global outcomes. So I don't know. I don't know how to teach that. There's some set point in children that they don't like losing. So even when you try to explain to them why, like, this loss is irrelevant or it's in your head or whatever, they get very, very upset.


Jeremy Au: (34:25)

Yeah, I think humanity and humans are very generic, right? I, I always tell like, humans are like V 0.1 alpha while AI and computers are like version 25.87. Right. We're still running on the basic code. Like, yeah, I think every kid, every human is competitive and collaborative, right? Those are the impulses that we have always had right.


Shiyan Koh: (34:49)

Yeah, but it's like some competitions aren't worth engaging in, and so how do you kinda have the presence of mind to be like, oh yeah, this doesn't make any sense, am I getting upset about it?


Jeremy Au: (35:04)

I think about how to compete and how to collaborate. That's an interesting skill, right?


Shiyan Koh: (35:09)

And when to do it. I think a lot of competitions are kind of silly. I, I think that's like something that's like, interesting to kind of like have your own mind about like which things are worth engaging in or not, and don't get kind of dragged into competing over things that don't matter.


Jeremy Au: (35:32)

Yeah. I mean, I think the adjacent side to it is that just because it's competitive doesn't mean it's valuable to you. Right. That is one thing I share. Right. Sometimes it's just like, yeah. Just because getting to this company is very selective doesn't mean that the company's the right fit for you. Right. Because by making it competitive, it generates scarcity and prestige in that sense. Right. Because you beat a hundred other humans to get a job. Right. So I think that self-awareness is hard too, I don't know. It's hard to teach, I think.


Shiyan Koh: (36:01)

Yeah, well have you read the guy who's like 'Wait, but why?'. He has this whole thing about how basically humans are just status monkeys.


Jeremy Au: (36:10)

Status monkeys. I mean, Randall right? I like that guy as well. But wait, status monkeys is, I remember hearing about it, but it's still hilarious. Sorry. Wait, so you mean to teach your kids not to be status monkeys or to teach your kids to be status monkeys?


Shiyan Koh: (36:26)

Not to be a status monkey, but, that's what motivates me a lot. Like, it's always like the absolute versus relative thing, right? It's like most people, like if you think about it like on an absolute basis, most Singaporeans are actually pretty like in the world, right? Like if you think about it, are pretty well off, all right. But it doesn't matter as much to them, right? It's like, who cares? Like me versus some random person in a country that I can't see, as I care about how I am relative to like my neighbour or my cousin or like, people wanna feel like relatively better off. Right. And I think sometimes you have to like to dial that back, right? Which is like, why does that matter to me? Yeah, why can't I feel appreciative and grateful for all the things that I do have and like leading a life where I don't need to worry about other people? So yeah, I, I don't know. I think that's like that's more, not, not technology related. Much more philosophical.


Jeremy Au: (37:26)

So, in 20 years when your kids are in the workforce and maybe this podcast will still be around, but it is a time capsule. Shiyan, why don't you give us a minute and say what? Say something for a minute to your child. What do you hope for them so that they hear this in 20 years?


Shiyan Koh: (37:44)

I hope you're having a lot of fun. Whatever you're doing, I hope you're working your ass off and you're learning a lot and you're working with people who inspire you and make you wanna be a better version of yourself. And hopefully, you're doing something that is accretive to the world and you're not just causing people to like waste time or money. But yeah, I think that's, that's what I hope, right? Is like there is joy in working hard and learning a lot, especially in the early stages of your career because you're just like, oh man, I can do stuff. Who knew? And you're like, oh, oh, this real, oh, okay. And then there's real joy in interacting with people who are like very different from you. You're like, wow, this guy's really good at X, Y, Z, or, this woman is so amazing at that. Like, I wanna like to get good at those things and it makes, it pushes you. So, and, hopefully, you're having fun. Like, For you go to work all day, you should probably try to have fun. But I would also say that's what I told everyone. Every time I'm on a college panel, I say this thing, which is like, no job is a hundred percent fun.

Every job has some drudgery to it. Okay, so that's the life you just have to find what is the right balance for you and what kind of drudgery, like drudgery for person A is not the same as drudgery for person B. And if you can find a job that's like 80% fun and 20% drudgery that's pretty good. That's pretty good, right? But I think people, when, you go to your first job, you expect it to all be amazing. And it's like, no, every job has paperwork, every job has bureaucracy. You just gotta get used to it. And when you're starting and you're a junior, your job probably has more drudgery. So that's okay, but you just need to see a path to more joy and less drudgery.


Jeremy Au: (39:25)

Hashtag end recording, boop. Put you in the corner there. Okay, I'll go too. Now, if I don't go, it'll be weird, but now I kinda regret asking you the question in the first place. Okay, fine. I'll do it. Hey kids. 20 years of future. Your dad's still cool, hopefully.


Shiyan Koh: (39:48)



Jeremy Au: (39:49)

I love you all very much and I hope that you still feel loved and accepted. I have no idea what world you're living in and what technology you're using, and you're probably teaching your parents how to use the newest, new Fango device and how to use our different things. And I hope the world's still around and I don't know, the worlds getting better and, technology and robots are not, replacing you and you found some balance. I hope that you are in good health, right? And that you're taking care of yourselves and that you're taking care of each other as a family. And I hope that in everything you do, you are gifted with a sense of wonder, perseverance and hope, right? And, I'm sure that y'all will do well and I hope that life only has good things, even though I know it's not gonna be possible. But, I can't help but continue to hope for good things for you and for yourselves. Boop. There we go. Oh, there we go. Then it's just like, then you go back entirely. It's just like, deleting the recording. Do you wanna save this recording? Delete. Just re-recorded like five times anyway.