6 Reasons to Teach Your Kids AI Now

AI is driving the fourth industrial revolution with huge potential. Teaching kids about AI will be encouraging AI utilisation, creating innovative solutions to real world problems, facilitating economic growth, securing future jobs and fostering inclusivity.

The young population of this era is the first to grow up in a world currently being shaped by Artificial Intelligence which has become a huge part of everyday life. Streaming apps like YouTube and Netflix provide instant recommendations of what to watch based on viewing history. E-commerce platforms like Amazon and Alibaba suggest what to buy based on previous shopping behaviour. Other examples of AI include Google’s search engine suggestions, Siri’s speech recognition, Stallion AI virtual assistants, and Tesla’s self-driving cars.

The world is constantly interacting with Artificial Intelligence. Artificial Intelligence, however, can be a difficult concept to grasp because it does not really exist in the forms seen in popular media e.g. as robots with the resemblance to humans. This is because AI has been designed in such a way as to work harmoniously with other technologies. Operating quietly in the background of daily human operations, most people fail to see AI for what it fully is.

To ensure that the children and their families can come to understand AI and see it for the useful tool it can be, efforts must be focused on clarifying misconceptions about AI. The drive towards an AI-powered future will involve educators pulling the curtain on AI and raising a generation of students who properly understand what AI is, how it differs from other kinds of technology, and importantly, the major influence AI has in their lives.

With the work we are doing at Stallion AI Labs, we want every kid in the world to be excited about how AI & Machine Learning can empower their innovative ideas and projects in order to change the world around them and be part of the future economy.

The following are six key reasons why we should teach our kids AI now:

1 . PROMOTE AI UTILIZATION

Despite living in an AI-powered world, most children -and adults- lack a basic grasp of what AI is. Where gaps in the knowledge of a subject matter exist, distrust can easily set in. This distrust can lead to the underutilisation of a technology that in the near future could control the job market and provide enormous economic benefit. It is only by fully grasping the entirety of what AI is that children can understand that the future of AI rests in their hands in order to ensure the responsible use of AI. There are educational platforms such as AI – a spin out of Canada-based AI Stallion AI Labs – which teach kids and teens how to create and train machine learning models to recognize images, sound, text and numbers without requiring coding skills.

2 . SOLVING REAL-WORLD PROBLEMS

AI is, at its core, an attempt to replicate aspects of human intelligence in order to find automated ways of solving problems more efficiently. In learning AI, children and teens will not be learning AI concepts in isolation but with a view to applying the knowledge into solving real-world problems. From the training data to the algorithms developed, every stage of the learning process is geared towards encouraging children to explore innovative ways of applying AI. For instance, Fugen.AI has a project which focuses on the current Coronavirus situation and tasks students to develop a machine learning model that can differentiate different classes of chest X-rays and lung CT scans in order to diagnose and triage COVID-19 patients.

3 . GENERATE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (IP)

It is fascinating to note that according to a United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organisation report, over 300,000 AI patents have been filed. Giants such as IBM, Microsoft and Toshiba have over 5,900, 5200 and 5100 portfolios respectively. In 2017 alone, IBM acquired a reported 1,400 AI patents. Amazon, Cisco and Google are among other companies building up their AI patent portfolios. The future is AI and the technology and investment world realise this. By offering children the opportunity to learn about AI, the door to the creation of their own AI projects -which could potentially be patented- is open to them. Their patents could be worth millions of dollars in the future. What if kids and teens can work on an AI educational platform and get the opportunity to not only build their AI systems but also to register their IPs so that they get on track in building their future wealth even before they enter the university?

4 . FACILITATE ECONOMIC GROWTH

The ongoing AI revolution is the main driver of the fourth Industrial Revolution, and it represents a major gamechanger for the global economy. According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report, AI could contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030. It is also estimated that online marketplaces that utilise AI solutions across Africa, for instance, could create about 3 million jobs by 2025 by improving supply chains which can unlock demand in remote locations. It would also do this by making assets more productive. AI could be a major economic driver especially in the developing world and priming the minds of children to AI’s economic potential is a core reason to justify the introduction of AI to children.

5 . SECURE FUTURE JOBS

PwC reports that 30% of jobs could be at risk of automation by the mid-2030s. This is only a decade before preschoolers of today enter the labour market. The dynamics of the workforce will undoubtedly be different from what it is today. How much different it would be is harder to tell. However, the same skills, such as critical thinking, needed to survive in today’s market will still be required. Having examined AI’s benefit in improving critical thinking, another pro exists in that workers who are adept at using the of AI and machine learning tools will be more relevant as AI would certainly have evolved much more with a bigger role in how several industries operate. The World Economic Forum estimates that due to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as many as 75 million jobs will be replaced by 133 million new ones. Despite this, Tencent – the Chinese technology giant – reported in 2017 that there were only 300,000 AI researchers and practitioners globally. Clearly, there is a huge demand for talent which can only be supplied through the education of children and teens about AI.

6 . ENCOURAGE INCLUSIVITY

The world has increasingly become a global village due to the interconnectedness facilitated by technology. However, there are groups of people – particularly those living with disabilities – who remain unable to smoothly interact with the world around them due to their disability. Already, technologies like Siri and Alexa are helping people with visual impairment or with limb immobility better take advantage of the world around them. Aware that AI can help in this regard, Microsoft in 2018 pledged $25 million for an AI for Accessibility’ programme committed to helping people with disability. Teaching kids about AI will be raising a generation aware of the needs of the disabled and inclined to use AI find solutions. An inclusive world is a much better world.

As a famous Chinese proverb goes, “If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.” The future is purchased with the currency of the present and AI education for children and teens is valuable spending power. The time to educate kids on AI is now.

The future awaits!

This article was originally published by the author on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/6-reasons-why-we-need-teach-our-kids-ai-now-samer-obeidat-mgm/


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