Why Artificial Intelligence matters for our kids?

Sure, some of us are going to be more naturally gifted in certain areas than others, but either way, we all must start at step one.
Quote by Stephan Hawking about Artificial Intelligence (AI)
I was reading an issue of the MIT Technology Review which included an interesting list of 35 innovators under 35 years old. I was curious to see what they are working on, so I did a quick tally of their areas:
statistics published by MIT showcasing most young innovators chose Artificial Intelligence as their

Note: Some of the innovators worked in more than one area, and I have removed the overlaps.

Clearly, Artificial Intelligence is a key area of focus for young innovators. If this is the case, how can we prepare our very youngest innovators – our children – to understand and use this technology?
In this article, I’ll go into some background about AI and why it matters for our children to start to understand it.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) is basically teaching computers think. It is the ability for computers to do things that are considered attributes of intelligence: processing language, understanding pictures, detecting patterns, etc. In the past few years, the combination of the Internet and ever-increasing computing power has enabled a new approach to AI. Because of huge statistics and faster systems, the accuracy of project outputs has increased drastically. These capabilities are now being applied in many different applications – from recommending purchases, to self-driving cars.
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Why AI for kids? How does AI matter for kids?

The environment in which our children are growing up includes instances of artificial intelligence and machine learning driven devices and services. For example, everyday social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, YouTube etc. are using artificial intelligence to filter out content as your choice. As of late 2018, nearly a quarter of US households owned a “smart speaker” like Amazon Alexa or Google Home. What children think about these devices is quite remarkable.

There is a pragmatic reason for teaching kids about Artificial Intelligence which is its direct bearing on employability and future career success. This is a powerful way of robot-proofing your kids, as Dr. Vivienne Ming so eloquently puts it in her TED talk.

However, a more profound reason is equipping them with the ability to understand what Artificial Intelligence is (or isn’t) capable of, and some of the basic principles behind how they operate. Some of the issues raised are profound, since exposure to Artificial Intelligence will affect children’s mental models of what intelligence is, and how it manifests. Young children in particular tend to overestimate the capabilities of AI when they encounter it.

Teaching children how A.I. works is a way to “pull back the curtain” and enable them to make more accurate critical judgements. This boosts their creativity and logical thinking capability on multiple levels.

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Teaching children how Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning works is a way to “pull back the curtain” and enable them to make more accurate critical judgments. This boosts their creativity and logical thinking capability on multiple levels.

Image Source: Canva

Other Advantages of knowing AI for kids

1. AI is changing the way we think about work
AI is gradually making its way into almost every sector, and this trend will continue in the future. To excel in any field, working knowledge of artificial intelligence and machine learning will be necessary for kids.

2. Knowing AI allows kids to understand data better
We are immersed in data. Over the last several years, the amount of data produced on a daily basis has skyrocketed, with no indication of slowing down. If children are introduced to large amounts of data from an early age, they will be able to collect, assess, and analyze information. As a result, youngsters who learn about AI and Machine Learning at an early age will have better fluency with data and be better equipped to comprehend it. To function effectively, AI and ML need a massive quantity of data. This learning about these technologies at a young age fosters data fluency and aids in better analysis and comprehension of information.

3. AI for kids boosts creativity and logical thinking capability on multiple levels
Children have a greater capacity to learn. They are more creative. Learning AI and machine learning will assist them in broadening their horizons and steering them in the correct direction. Having a tool in the arsenal, allows kids to apply their minds to real world problems and try and find innovative solutions using artificial intelligence and machine learning tools.

Where to start?

SKILLIT students arrive in to learn—not only because of their interests in technology, but because many of them still aren’t receiving valuable instruction in subjects like coding and machine learning with their everyday schooling. They leave the institute with new skills, deeper knowledge, and the confidence to go out and do something impactful with what they’ve learned. We’ve seen this happen year after year. And now, kids can learn Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning online with our ‘specially designed for kids’ programs! So enrol your kid to stay ahead of curve by learning this future tech. Best of luck!
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Artificial intelligence could be one of humanity’s most useful inventions. We research and build safe AI systems that learn how to solve problems and advance scientific discovery for all.
January 15, 2022

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