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Artificial intelligence

3 minutes reading time
3-17 years
Copyright: Thomas Trutschel/photothek.net

Flying cars, robots and similar things are what many people imagine when it comes to artificial intelligence. So dreams of the future? Not quite. In this article, you will find out where we already encounter artificial intelligence in everyday life and what this has to do with your child’s media education.

Artificial intelligence – what is it anyway?

Artificial intelligence, or AI for short, is a very broad term. This usually refers to machines or computer systems that can mimic human intelligence. To do this, they are fed information until they can apply it independently to solve tasks. This also means that they can learn from mistakes and thus constantly improve. For example, if a computer is fed a very large number of photos of human faces, at some point it will be able to tell for sure whether or not a photo has a human face in it. In this case, it is a so-called “weak AI” because it is intelligent only in relation to a specific subject. Research is also being conducted on a “strong AI” that could have the intellectual capabilities of a human, e.g., think logically or plan ahead. However, the strong AI does not yet exist. And if it should exist one day – it will probably not have feelings and thus will be fundamentally different from us humans.

AI in everyday family life

With facial recognition , artificial intelligence has already become part of our everyday lives: Perhaps someone in your family also uses “Face ID” to unlock the smartphone. Here, the smartphone recognizes whether it is the face of a very specific person. AI is also being used in voice assistants and streaming services. Alexa, Siri and Co. “remember” when they are addressed by their name (“Hey, Alexa”). Netflix recommends movies that match the content you’ve recently watched. Algorithms also play a role in this. With so-called smart toys, children can interact while playing – this also works thanks to AI. For example, a smart cuddly toy can search the Internet for answers to your child’s questions and then read them aloud.

AI risks

Artificial intelligence can make our lives easier in many situations. But there are also risks associated with the use of AI. For example, so-called deep fakes can be used to create deceptively real images or videos that support the spread of fake news. If AI is used at home, for example via a voice assistant or smart toys, it is also important to look at the manufacturer’s data protection measures and use existing security settings. If the data is not stored on the device itself, but in a cloud, there is a risk that third parties can access and misuse the data. There are also many legal questions for which there is no conclusive solution at the present time: For example, who should be liable in the future if a decision made by an AI causes damage? This is one reason why the use of self-driving cars, for example, is not yet readily possible.

Understanding AI through play

Artificial intelligence has arrived in our everyday lives and is likely to become increasingly important in the future. Children and young people are already growing up with many applications based on AI as a matter of course. This makes it all the more important that they understand what AI is and how it works. Younger children often find it difficult at first to distinguish between an object activated by AI and a real living being. Age-appropriate explanatory videos and articles are suitable for teaching children and young people about artificial intelligence. There are also games in which you can train an AI yourself and thus learn to understand how it works in a playful way. Here we have put together a few offers for you:

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