How to Explain AI to Kids

This topic fascinated me since the subject is very important and one that even parents have trouble with. I hope to make that explanation one parents can share.

1/8/20241 min read

We are now having to face the reality that AI is going to be in our lives. In order to grasp a certain level of understanding, we need to see this in a simpler way so that kids will be able to grow up knowing this is not something we need to be afraid of but we do need to respect it and how we handle the technology.

If your kids have not seen it yet. sit down together and watch Wall-E. It is an excellent movie to get the discussion going. Also, the smart home devices we already use like Siri or Alexa are a great way to acquaint kids with devices connected to our phones and computers. This is a rudimentary form of AI.

Let them know that AI is something we use that works with computers to help us do things. It is very clever and works quickly to find answers for you. Soon it will be put into robots to handle daily activities that will help humans. It is already happening but in limited ways.

In order to get how this works, kids will want to see examples or play with ideas using AI. Fortunately, there are already places online where they can do this in a safe manner. The sites TensorFlow and Scratch will give them opportunities through games and experiences and offer tutorials to explain.

If you are online and happen to be talking through a chat bot to a site, allow your kids to watch you to see what is offered in this way and how it works. Then they will know this is another way AI is useful in your life. It is also important that kids understand we have a ways to go yet since AI is not totally reliable yet and they must be cautious about what they watch on computers since it can be used in ways to hurt users.

That should allow you the opportunity to tell them about safety online and how to protect their identity and personal information. Remind them this is true with or without AI.