If you have “smart assistants” at home—Google Home, Alexia, “intelligent” toys, conversational agents, and the like, what is the impact on your child?
That’s a question Shady Hill parent Dr. Cynthia Breazeal (mother of Nathan [Grade VII] and Caleb [Grade V] Blumofe) is interested in. An expert on AI, autonomous robotics, human-robot interaction, and robot learning, Cynthia founded and directs the MIT Media Lab’s Personal Robots Group. She connected one of her grad students, Stefania Druga, with Shady Hill.
Stefania was looking for students to help her test Cognimates, an open-source platform she developed to improve children’s AI literacy. Among other things, Cognimates lets children create and train their own AI models, create a room that responds to their commands, and build a game that “learns” how to get better at playing Rock-Paper-Scissors.
In her recent article, Stefania wrote, “I believe it’s important to introduce young people to the concepts of AI and machine learning through hands-on projects so they can make more informed and critical use of these technologies. Children quickly understand how a machine learns when the actions are embodied by a character, story, or game.”