Intelligent toys and conversational agents are present in children’s homes, with more than 47.5 million adults already using smart assistants (such as Amazon's Alexa) in the US alone.
This raises questions as to the impact of AI on children’s behavior. During my time in the Personal Robots group at the MIT Media Lab, the focus of my research was to better understand this generation of children growing up with AI so as to protect and encourage positive development.
I created Cognimates as an open source platform for AI literacy for children 7-14 years old. While schools and parents are starting to recognize coding as one of the required literacies for children, I believe it’s important to also 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.
我创建了Cognimates作为7-14岁儿童AI识字的开源平台。 虽然学校和家长开始认为编码是儿童所需的文字之一，但我认为通过实践项目向儿童介绍人工智能和机器学习的概念非常重要，这样他们就可以更加明智和批判地使用 这些技术。
The Cognimates platform aims to achieve that by allowing children to program and customize embodied intelligent devices, such as Alexa and the smart robot Cozmo. Children can also use the platform to train their own AI models, learn how to build a game that gets better at playing Rock Paper Scissors with them over time, or create an installation where an entire room reacts to the way they describe their dreams.
Cognimates平台旨在通过允许儿童编程和定制具体的智能设备来实现这一目标，例如Alexa和智能机器人Cozmo。 孩子们也可以使用该平台训练他们自己的AI模型，学习如何建立一个随着时间的推移更好地与他们一起玩Rock Paper Scissors的游戏，或创建一个整个房间对他们描述梦想的方式做出反应的装置。
Cognimates builds on multiple parts (including the visual programming language) of the Scratch open-source platform, created by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab. The main goal of the Cognimates platform is to extend coding to AI education and literacy.
During this process I realized how important it is to demystify how AI technology works and enable children to position themselves as creators of AI, not just consumers.
What is a Cognimate?
Initially for me a Cognimate was the embodied intelligent agent that children could program and teach. The agent would be both a friendly companion (playmate) and an object to "think with" and learn with (cognimate).
最初对我来说，Cognimate 是儿童可以编程和教授的具体智能伙伴。 既是友好的伴侣（玩伴），也是“与...一起思考”并与之学习（同情）的对象。
Collaboration and communication skills played a significant role in how fast children were able to understand different machine learning concepts like computer vision, sentiment analysis, and supervised learning.