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How Do You Explain Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Kids?

How Do You Explain Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Kids?

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are two cornerstones of modern day technology. Almost all the technological advancements in the 21st century have been directly or indirectly affected by these two. So, explaining these concepts to a kid is not going to be an easy task at all. That being said, it is not impossible either. With the correct methods and resources, you can successfully make your child learn the basics of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.

Introduce your child to Machine Learning

While explaining the concept of machine learning, a number of heavy technical terms are bound to come out at some point. And these would most definitely make your kids’ eyes glaze over or make them invariably lose interest in the matter. So the task of making kids learn machine learning should be approached with due diligence.

In essence, machine learning means where machines learn autonomously through the given data with the help of artificial intelligence and can make independent decisions based on this learning. But you need not put this heavy concept directly onto a kid. There are quite a few thoughts which would start making them think along the initial lines.

Make them realize the applications of machine learning in their everyday life

Kids take advantage of machine learning almost on a regular basis. Let us take a quick glance at some of the day-to-day applications of machine learning in our kids’ lives.

  • Video Games: Almost every other kid these days has regular or partial access to video games. Now while playing video games, when their character makes contact with a non-playing character (NPC) and it reacts to their character, that is a fine example of machine learning in motion. Explaining such an intricate concept through video games will not only keep their interest piqued, but will also make them interested in the concept if they weren’t before.
  • Social media: Unless you have been raising your kid under a rock in some remote jungle, they will know what social media is. It is the greatest boon and bane of the 21st century. Now while your kids browse through TikTok, Instagram, or Snapchat, they keep on scrolling and inevitably go down the rabbit hole of social media. This is also a great example of machine learning in action. Not only does the machine show the kids the kind of content they wanna see, but the machine is also smart enough to keep them engrossed in the content for hours and hours.
  • Searching Youtube: How many times has it happened that you got to Youtube to look for one thing and ended up spending hours surfing through video after video? The machine kept you hooked with a continuous flow of engaging content. How? Machine learning. Same happens for your kids too. So this can be another great example of machine learning in action.

Machine learning and human learning is kinda similar

Suppose you know that your child  loves eating Thai food. Now when their birthday comes, and you are deciding on a restaurant, you will obviously not look at Chinese or Mexican places, right? You would look for the best Thai places. This is human learning.

Machine learning works in the same way except instead of talking to another human being, a machine relies on the data it receives to learn. Suppose a kid looks at burritos on their social media feed and then immediately after they go and search for cafes near them. This will let the machine learn that food makes this person hungry. So in future, it would come up with suggestions of places to eat accordingly. This is, in gist, how you can get your child started on machine learning.

Introduce your child to Artificial Intelligence (AI)

To teach your kids about AI, you would have to know sufficiently about it yourself. The main reason is that you would have to simplify the entire concept for your kid. That will only be possible if you understand the concepts properly yourself. So we are now going to share a list of topics for your perusal to get yourself acquainted with the machinations of artificial intelligence.

  • Basic concepts of computational thinking and artificial intelligence.
  • History of computers and the internet.
  • Examples of cultural, educational, and technological experiences.
  • Issues that can inspire respect, cooperation, and solidarity.
  • An ethical reflection regarding the impact of artificial intelligence and technology on our lives as we know it.

If you familiarize yourself with these few key concepts, then we believe that you will be able to get a conversation regarding AI started with your kids and you can actually help steer them toward learning more about AI in the future.

The first steps

The initial introduction to AI is very important. Instead of using ideas that they have no idea about, it is advisable to focus their attention on things that capture their fascination. Like robots. You can start by explaining how robots are usually operated by AI. This will get them interested and lead to further questions which you can discuss at length.

You can also start explaining concepts in layman terms to them. For example, you can tell kids that AI is what machines use to do tasks that we previously thought were impossible to do without human intelligence. Or, even simpler, you can tell them that machine learning is a machine’s way of making the AI work.

Basically, your target should be to inculcate the interests and likes of the kid into the conversation so that the interest remains. And as more and more questions emerge, you can either keep on performing this experiment, or if your kid is old enough, you can even consider signing them up for courses on AI and machine learning.

Our take

AI and machine learning are fundamental concepts in this technological world. The trend seems to indicate that the future is almost entirely going to be run by machines. So it is always wise to get the kids started on it from a young age. At the same time, it is advised to show restraint. Do not overburden your child. Every kid has different levels of input capacity. Make sure to not overburden your kid else the whole effort will be futile anyway.

At SCRATCHPAD, we like you to step into a space where creativity knows no boundaries. Here, you can enrol your kids based on their skill level and not their age. We will provide a number of session timings to choose from for your convenience. Get in touch with us to learn more about our program modules, or book a free trial!