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Artificial Intelligence is a popular topic among young innovators. Kids today are surrounded with AI in almost everything , be it their games , smart phones or social media. But , how can we literally teach our children to comprehend and use this technology? It is essential to explain it simply and with specific examples which they can comprehend. This may be accomplished in three simple steps: Give a definition for AI, provide examples, and connect them with resources that they can engage themselves with. Read on to find out how AI is important for kids, and how kids can be made familiar with it.
What is AI?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) , in the most simplest terms, can be defined as a computer program which is capable of performing a task which requires intelligence , and is usually performed by a human, such as learning, planning, problem-solving, pattern-recognition and so on.
AI is ubiquitous today, with applications in almost every field. AI recommends what you should purchase next on the internet, interprets your language to virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, assists in recognizing who and what is in a photo,detects spam, and the list is really never ending.
Why AI for kids?
It is essential for kids to understand AI, how these technologies work so that they can explore and utilize them effectively. It will make them feel empowered. Children’s problem-solving and critical-thinking skills are boosted when they are exposed to technological concepts. It may help them master computational skills more rapidly in the future.
Early exposure to the ethical and societal implications of technology can help kids develop into more mindful creators and developers, as well as more educated citizens. Moreover, middle school years are very significant for a child’s identity formation and overall development. Teaching children about technology at a young age may increase their likelihood of studying it later in life or pursuing a profession in the field.
Introducing AI to kids through games
Kids are active at playing games, and enjoy it to the fullest. It is perhaps the single most popular activity among kids of all ages.
Pac-Man is a popular game that is both enjoyable and requires no introduction. The game takes place in a maze. The player takes control of Pac-Man, whose task is to eat all of the dots in the maze while also avoiding four different coloured ghosts. The interesting fact is that each of the four ghosts has its own personality, which is managed by the central AI system. Although Pac-Man is a basic game, the actions of AI may be easily observed and understood in practise through it.
In most games, similar AI mechanics may be found. In football games like FIFA, the AI controls the opponent squad. In simulation games like “The Sims” , the AI takes care of the majority of the other characters. AI is used in almost every game!
Similarly, almost every online game, whether it’s a racing game, a shooting game, or a strategy game, has components that are driven by AI or related applications. The enemy bots, for example, or the neutral characters. The primary goal of using AI in gaming is to provide a realistic gaming experience for players to compete against one another on a virtual battlefield.
There are plenty of online resources to have fun with
Finally, after the kids understand what AI is and realise that we all use it regularly, the time has come to have some fun with it too. There are loads of resources available suitable for every age group which kids can access.
Chatting with a Machine: ELIZA is a natural language processing computer software developed at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory between 1964 and 1966. It is one of the first chatbots to be ever developed. Although it has several limitations, it is still entertaining to converse with it. It assigns each input word in a phrase a value, and then uses that value to reorganise the words in the form of a question.The software utilizes Pattern Matching and substitution methodology to provide replies, giving early users the impression that they were speaking with someone who understood their input. Eliza can be accessed here- Eliza, Computer Therapist
Cognimates: Cognimates is an MIT Media Lab project that expands the Scratch block-based programming , to incorporate artificial intelligence tools and capabilities. Cognimates is a comprehensive programme. It encompasses common A.I. applications such as speech recognition, translation, and computer vision, in addition to all of Scratch’s features.It can interface with the real world via devices such as the micro:bit, which allows for the creation of a wide range of homebrew robots, among other things. It also has tools for actually training computer vision and textual analysis models.
Machine learning for kids: Another fantastic resource is- Machine Learning For Kids. Some tasks, like Cognimates, are created using the Scratch block-based programming system. However, the IBM Watson A.I. system is used behind the scenes to power applications, and certain exercises are written in the Python programming language. Just like Cognimates, it explores “behind the scenes” to show how models are trained and used in applications. The worksheets are quite detailed, and they can help kids who aren’t very familiar with the field.
A.I. Experiments With Google: This collection of browser-based A.I. Experiments which have been developed by Google provide a solid introduction to the applications of A.I. and operate fully in your web browser. Learning, music, art, and a range of other creative activities are all covered in the experiments. Of course, they employ Google’s advanced artificial intelligence algorithms.This video provides a good overview of the experiments: AI Experiments: Making it easier.
With all of these resources, what’s the best way to begin? Start with relevant questions and projects, build some basic skills, set-up a strong foundation, experiment with AI applications and get started with AI coding! AI is, without any doubt, the most powerful technology ever devised by mankind. Many people refer to it as the “new electricity.” As a result, working with AI is the only way to build a bright future. We must teach the younger generation to appreciate it and use it as a resource. Only in this way can we expect to prepare our kids for the upcoming challenges.
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