Preparing children for the world of AI
Education opens many doors for children and helps build their potential, which in turn helps develop the country.
Many people believe that learning is something that only happens in the classroom. In reality, learning can happen anytime, anywhere, with family being the driving force that creates the right learning environment for children. Whether homeschooling your children or creating joint creative activities, teaching your children to love learning is essential.
Parents should find ways to create lifelong learning skills as well as practicing skills that will help children adapt to the Digital Age, especially in this new era of AI. Technology’s role in our daily lives has been growing and many jobs can be done similarly to a human.
Something parents should think about is ‘how will the next generation of children coexist with AI and use it to benefit their lives?’
Children in this era are growing up in a world where AI algorithms are choosing content for us, especially on YouTube or Facebook.
This affects children’s learning, by teaching children to understand these technologies we can stimulate their problem solving and critical thinking skills. This will help with media literacy as well as help determine the direction of technology in the future.
Blakeley Payne, a student assistant researcher at the MIT Media Lab, led an AI teaching course that’s in the process of developing its own algorithm. He teaches children between the ages of 9 - 14, this course helps the children understand and have the right attitude towards AI, while also teaching them useful skills such as analytical thinking, problem solving and Computational thinking. This is very important for the kids since they are at that age where they are beginning to develop their own identity and understanding about technology. This will also help the AI Industry grow in the future. In addition, if we encourage ethics in technology we can create a socially responsible population in the future.
Here are some examples of skills that parents should teach and recommend to their children, in order for them to have a better understanding of AI:
1. Learn to distinguish what is fact, fake, and opinion
Deepfake is a software where videos can be disguised or edited as someone else, and it’s on the rise. We can observe skin colour on the face to see if it’s different from other parts of the body, this is called ‘Face Discolouration’. You can also look out for lighting that doesn’t match with other parts of the video and inconsistent mouth movements, then you can tell that the video is fake. If it is a content aspect, they must be able to identify whether it is an opinion or truth from a credible source.
2. Make them understand toys such as robots or chatbots
There are toys that you can have a conversation with, sometimes a personality is added to make it more realistic. It’s important that parents inform their children that humans created these things and taught them to act like this. "It" is an invention. Try not to think of it as a living being and develop an emotional attachment. There are many studies show that toys that can interact affect the development and decisions of children, as well as being able to influence moral decisions. Therefore, parents should make sure their children understand these technologies clearly, so that the AI does not influence children inappropriately.
3. Encourage the right attitude towards AI
Help children to understand how robots or AI work. Including instilling ethical design guidelines for the AI. For example, if a child is playing a game against an AI and loses, what should we do? Parents should also make children aware about news received from bots or robots, and see how accurate it is.
4. Ask Curious Questions
You could begin by showing a trailer of a Deepfake video to your child and then ask them how they feel about it. Do they like to create fake videos or fake news? This helps children realise both the positive and negative social impacts of technology.
Some of you may look at what I have said and think that this is far away in the future. But the transition is happening today and it’s happening quickly. Every country will need to adjust to the changing world. But if parents can start to help their children understand and develop technology, you will find that those children who have been eased into it can express their views early on. Our responsibility is to help teach and motivate children to think and strengthening their ethics. This is especially important in a time where anyone can create content and models themselves. A strong understanding of media literacy and social responsibility will help with the creation of quality AI in the future.
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