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Why should kids learn AI?

R2D2 and C3PO, these well-loved droids steal all our hearts. They’re not only assisting the humans on screen but also friends with them. Pop culture may have introduced AI to us as a common theme in science fiction but as a society we’re taking steps to make this fiction a reality.

Artificial Intelligence is an essential part of all our lives. It makes our lives more efficient every single day as AI powers many programs and services that help us perform a multitude of activities be it connecting with friends, using an email program, or using a ride-share service. 

So in an age where AI is in every home, shouldn’t our kids be equipped with the skills to thrive in the tech-focused world they’re growing up in? They definitely should and here are 5 more reasons why

  1. Exposes Them to Coding

Soon we’ll have advanced interfaces for machine learning but right now, the process requires coding. But this exposure to coding is great in terms of education. We’ve already looked at the benefits of coding, read it here. Majority of educational experts recommend that children learn coding early even if that’s not the line of career they eventually pursue as the element of logic and mathematical reasoning can be applied to many other fields.

As part of generation Z, children have already incorporated technology into their lives but how many of them know what’s under the hood of all the technology they use? Coding reveals just that while acting as building blocks for day to day applications.  This also empowers children to become creators with technology rather than stay mere consumers.

  1. Works Well With Gaming

Making the field of science fiction reality actually started with games. One of the foremost experiments with AI was to make a computer learn to play Checkers. Now, so many games have the option of playing against the computer making the combination of AI and gaming quite complimentary. With education evolving, there are of course courses to teach children to create games but AI takes this to a new level by teaching a machine to play the game created. 

It’s important to note that games play a large role in a child’s universe and teaching AI through this medium makes for better engagement as it brings familiarity and captivates their imagination.

  1. Promotes Data Fluency

Big data rules the world. What you browse on the internet, be it shopping for something or posting a story. Everything is connected in such a way that your actions reflect future suggestions and advertisements. One could even say that data is like the electricity of the 21st century. It connects everything. 

As a society we’re moving towards data driven methods that shape the future. Data transforms entire fields like healthcare and education- a trend that seems to have no indicators of slowing. So helping kids understand how to collect, examine and analyze data sets them up for success in the world of big data. 

  1. Opens up Discussions About Our Humanity

We know that AI theoretically arose from science-fiction so the topic gives way for discussions and deliberations related to Literature, Philosophy, Ethics and Social Studies. The existence of AI enables us to contemplate what it means to be human. It gives opportunity for humanities to be added to STEM. Doing so helps develop a child’s ability to think critically and understand the ‘how’ in connection with the ‘why’. How to build AI is definitely fascinating, but learning why makes the learning more wholesome. What does it mean to outsource reasoning and decision-making to machines? It may sound like a question for the grownups but often we underestimate our children’s ability to reflect about humanity. They need to think about these issues more than we do because this is the world they are expected to flourish in.

  1. Economic, societal and vulnerability arguments

Studies have shown us that when children engage with technical concepts, it stimulates their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. It can prime them to learn computational skills quicker making the economic argument. 

The societal one focuses on development, in particular, the middle school years which are critical. Teaching girls about technology at this age may make them more likely to study it later or have a career in technology, according to studies about development and identity formation. This would not only empower girls but also diversify the AI industry. Introducing children to AI during this period will also enable them to understand ethics and the impacts of technology early on allowing them to become more conscious creators and informed citizens.

Another facet of the three tier argument is that children are more impressionable. Ergo, the risks that arise from tracking consumer behaviour and using the information to design more addictive experiences are higher for them. Teaching them about AI will make them active consumers and help protect their privacy, long-term growth and agency.AI also offers a more promising template for education in this technology driven world. Start your child’s journey with AI with Avishkaar. We believe that learning is best when it’s interactive and so attempt to give you a good foundation for AI through IoT and Robotics. Check out our courses and kits here.

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