How To Explain AI To Your Child: A Three-Step Guide



1.  Explain the definition
2. Give tangible examples 
3. Explore fun resources 

Prepare your children for the technological changes of today and challenges of tomorrow. Here’s my advice to take it step-by-step. 

The fast technological advances in our society are enough to leave anyone confused and feeling like they’ve been left behind. Self-driving cars, robot delivery services and automated machines left right and centre - Artificial Intelligence (AI) is clearly on the rise 🚀 But how are children supposed to keep up, as well as to grow up becoming technical wizards? 




Explain the definition

Artificial intelligence is the simulation of human intelligence in machines to make them appear and act in human ways 🌏 It’s particularly important that their fast abilities can solve problems, quickly recognise symbols and data, and make decisions for us, massively cutting time spent on tasks and increasing productivity. 

A great way to get children thinking about AI is to ask them questions to spark their curiosity and imagination. How about:

👉🏼 Before we had machines to do stuff for us, what did we do? 

👉🏼 If you had the quickest brain in the world, what would you learn to do first? 

👉🏼 If you could design a robot to live in our home, what would it be able to do? 

👉🏼 Which jobs in the world could make use of AI? How? 

Discuss these with children carefully and think about how you can deepen and challenge your child’s interest and curiosity in this growing subject. We’re all still learning, so the emphasis should be on AI as being an important and helpful part of our society, not as something to replace us. 

AI isn’t all about robots and sci-fi takeover movies, it’s about clever and complex systems to speed up how we process information (and find more long-term solutions!) 🔧

Give tangible examples 

One of the best things you can do is to remind children about how life has improved with technology. Remember dialling up for the internet? Slow connections? Big and heavy computers that took up the whole desk? A thing of the past! But with a generation whose first electronic device could be their smartphone, they may have no comprehension of life before the tech boom. Get them to point to objects and devices around the home that make life easier and research when they were created together. 

Go one step further and talk to your children about how we’re training AI to learn as well as follow instructions. Think about an example that might make sense to them: a family will train a puppy to learn how to behave until it knows how to do it itself, and AI is much the same! 

Here’s another fun example of a new machine that can fold clean laundry after it’s washed. The machine scans each object, compares each object to a database and then makes folding decisions based on what the database tells it. It then takes 10 minutes to learn how to fold each new object! Ever tried to properly fold a shirt? This is not far off! 

What other examples have you seen and heard of? Share these with your child as you research and come across them, and start to ask them about how they could make our lives easier. Remember to comment on the dangers of these advances; why should we avoid relying on technology for everything? And why is it important to continue to learn as humans, too? 👍🏼

Explore fun resources 

For children, class learning time and game time are often mutually inclusive. But we as adults know that often the best way to learn is through structured play. A simple computer game like Pac-Man is a perfect example of Artificial Intelligence on a scalable level. 

Further resources like Youtube (where the more you search for AI, the more options for AI videos appear, illustrating the magic of AI itself!), Experiments with Google (a site focusing on teaching and learning) and Machine Learning for Kids (where you can teach a computer to play a game) are brilliant and accessible options. 

Go further and spark their curiosity about intelligence itself, what does it mean to be human? To be intelligent? Big questions provoke big discussions. At GoStudent we challenge students to think carefully about big ideas. Book a free trial tutoring class with one of our experts! With our Summer Tutoring Plans, we can work closely with your child to improve their overall confidence in taking on new challenges.


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