How to explain Artificial Intelligence to kids?

Artificial Intelligence has been in use for a few years now. It may have started as a fantasy depicted in movies but now, talking robots and smart computers are very much a reality. Thus, it can be very helpful to introduce your kids to Artificial Intelligence.

As doing so may be challenging for someone with no experience in the subject so far, we have created a beginner’s guide to help you explain the concept of Artificial Intelligence to your children.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

The rise of machines: Timeline of the evolution of Artificial Intelligence  - ​First, what is the big fuss really? | The Economic Times
what is artificial intelligence

Artificial Intelligence or AI refers to a computer program that is capable of executing tasks that require intelligence. Basically, the term describes a computer that can perform things a human or intelligent animal can accomplish. This includes problem-solving, learning, playing etc.

Examples of Artificial Intelligence

Use simple examples to correlate the topic with tangible elements of their imagination.

First, describe AI as a machine that can learn just like kids. They are also capable of making their own decisions, unlike a normal computer, which relies on commands given by the user.

Artificial intelligence for kids

Second, explain artificial intelligence using the games they play. The simplest is the classic game Pac-Man. In the game, players control Pac-Man who eats the dots that are placed in a maze while avoiding four ghosts. Each of the four ghosts has its own personality controlled by a central AI system. Firstly, Pinky is a slow ghost that can predict where Pac-Man will go. Second, Inky is shy and tends to follow Blinky. Thirdly,  Brinkley is the leader and constantly follows Pac-man. Finally, Clyde is a coward and escapes as soon as Pacman reached close to it.

Similarly, in football games, the opposite team is controlled by an AI. In simulation games, all other characters except yours are handled by an AI.

Lastly, you can also use movies to show kids how an AI works. Popular movies like iRobot, The Avengers, Iron Man as well as Tron: Legacy, all show the impressive activities an artificial intelligence machine can perform.

Activities kids can perform to learn more about Artificial Intelligence

After understanding what artificial intelligence is, the kids can now have some fun with it. There are many online resources that children can use to do so. We have listed a few below.

Chat with a Machine

ELIZA - Wikipedia
chat with machine

Young kids will definitely have fun talking to a machine. There are quite a few chatbots in existence. Eliza, created in 1964, was the first chatbot. Despite some limitations, it is fun to talk with her. Mitsuku, another chatbot is one of the most advanced ones in the present time.

A machine that can see

Emoji Scavenger Hunt
A Machine that can see

These programs can identify images that are inputted. The Sentence Generator can create a caption using any image as an input. On the other hand, the Emoji Scavenger Hunt application uses artificial intelligence to identify emoji’s using the device’s camera to identify emojis in the real world using the mobile device’s camera.

A machine or application that can process languages

There are several applications available that is capable of identifying as well as translating different languages. An example of this is the Thing Translator which uses a phot an input and then gives the description in the language selected by the user. Another application known as The Sentiment Analyser can determine whether the input sentence is positive, negative or neutral.

Playing with a Machine

In many of the games available, the players play against the computer. This could include Tic-Tac-Toe, Hangman etc. One such game is Quick, Draw!, wherein, the player has to draw an object and the AI has to guess what it is.

Handcrafting books

For younger than 9 years old, handcrafting is an effective tool to learn AI. You can create small Artificial intelligence books with kids to help them understand the concept better. Use AI story writing tools and have your little ones draw out some basic concepts of AI. Then bind them into small books for them to refer to later on.

Interactive activities

Studies show that for kids ages 9 to 14 years, interactive activities help them discover how algorithms work. These activities include games like Bingo or prototyping the code with a pen and paper.

artificial intelligence and machine learning

Advantages of Learning Artificial Intelligence for kids

  • In today’s world the data being generated is increasing day by day. If children are exposed to big data at an early age, they become familiar with the process to collect and analyzing the data.
  • Learning the complex processes of artificial intelligence can help boost your child’s imagination. As a lot is still left to be discovered, learning AI will help widen their horizons, thus, pushing them in the right direction.
  • Learning AI instils excellent problem-solving skills. If kids understand all the basic concepts of computer science, they can approach any problem from a different perspective.
  • Learning AI increases their curiosity to discover new things.
  • Artificial intelligence creates new jobs in every field. According to the World Economic Forum, AI will create 58 million jobs in the next few years. Thus, learning AI when young will help build a stable career option for your kids. 

Project ideas for kids to get started in Artificial Intelligence

A few project ideas for kids to develop are,

  • Create a music recommendation model
  • Build an AI chatbot to take pizza orders
  • Analyze vaccination sentiment trends using social media
  • Develop a facial recognition software

Conclusion

Learning AI is a must in today’s technologically advanced world. With a deeper understanding of the capabilities of a machine, kids can utilize it and create wonders. Such learning is not limited to the advantages of artificial intelligence but also has the capability to drive a positive change in society.

Your kids can use other applications, videos and books together with this beginner guide to learn the complexities of the field. Once they are proficient in it, they are sure to excel in life. Check out our blog to know about more such helpful guides for your kids!

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