Updated: Apr 11
Artificial Intelligence is all around us. From something as simple as auto-correct on any phone, that can help complete messages (sometimes hilariously!) to product recommendations, digital assistants, and self-driving cars, AI is now in the lives of our kids. In this blog post, we focus particularly on the younger kids and share our learnings from teaching thousands of kids, some as young as 6 or 7 years old and in first or second grade.
Why should kids learn about Artificial Intelligence?
AI is already all around them and it is very likely that the average child interacts with an AI at least once every week if they use any kind of connected electronic device (a phone, the internet on their computer, etc.). Many AIs also tend to have easy-to-use interfaces (like a digital assistant that can answer voice questions). Engaging with such a device comes very naturally to children. Understanding what AI is helps kids appreciate the difference between talking with devices and talking with other humans, and also helps them manage their interactions with these devices - for example in protecting their privacy.
What are examples of Artificial Intelligence?
In general, any computer program that is able to learn patterns from data and then put those learnings to use to answer questions, solve problems, make plans, etc. is an example of AI. Day to day AIs includes those that recommend movies or products, applications that help us find routes to work while taking traffic into consideration, apps that help doctors read X-Rays to detect diseases, apps used by banks to detect credit card fraud, and many more. One great way to tell the difference between an AI and a regular program - if you can describe a set of rules to follow to get the right answer every time, that is not an AI. If the program needs to find a pattern that is hard to describe in words, that is usually an AI.