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It, Robot: Could Teaching Kids To Be AI-Savvy Early On Build Their Confidence And Ease Future Anxiety?

Personal robots designed for preschoolers
Personal robots designed for preschoolers

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With artificial intelligence systems entering the mainstream, researchers say teaching kids to call robots “it” can help develop healthy boundaries.

According to an article from the Wall Street Journal, a growing number of studies are encouraging childhood AI education beyond coding. If kids understand how an AI system works, they can be more comfortable controlling and mastering it. Learning about the source of robots intelligence can temper kids’ tendency to overestimate robots capabilities. In a 2018 study, for example, 1 in 4 kids thought a robot would be better at solving a puzzle than them. Using the pronoun “it” teaches children that AI is inhuman, capable of error, and even manipulation. Have you tried to teach a child about artificial intelligence? What do you think they should know? 



Pete Basiliere, research vice president with Gartner, a technology research and advisory company

Jennifer Jipson, a professor of psychology and child development at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo

Craig Le Clair, a principal analyst with the research company Forrester, which produces trend analysis on the tech industry, he’s the author of the new book, Invisible Robots In The Quiet Of The Night: How AI and Automation Will Restructure the Workforce; he tweets @CSLeClair