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This South African Edtech Start-Up Teaches Kids How to Code AI

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On Thursday a Cape Town-based edtech startup, Mindjoy, launched a track that teaches kids to code Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) programs, powered by OpenAI’s GPT-3.

Mindjoy says that the ‘Get Creative with Artificial Intelligence’ series of its projects allows kids to explore AI and Machine Learning in a safe, responsible and fun way in a playground Mindjoy has built-in Replit’s coding environment. Their goal, according to a statement they made, is to help kids develop a solid grasp of the principles behind neural networks and the philosophy of AI co-creation through hands-on projects.

“GPT-3 is the most advanced AI language model that humans have ever built, and it’s now open to the whole world to play with! What’s great about a language model like GPT-3 is that programs are written in English (or whatever language you speak), which means even your 70-year-old mom or 8-year-old child can use it naturally,” Mindjoy founder and CEO Gabi Immelman, said.

Projects in this track include the kids building a detailed and personal fantasy world in which their story takes place, writing a compelling plot-line using narrative templates, and then telling their story in long-form — all powered by kids and GPT-3’s natural language capabilities.

OpenAI’s mission is to ensure that general-purpose artificial intelligence benefits all of humanity, safely and responsibly. The AI research and deployment company’s API is a platform that makes advanced AI technologies available to developers and their users in a controlled way to ensure safety.

Mindjoy facilitates small-group online coaching sessions for kids aged 8 years and up, teaching them essential 21st-century skills through coding. The company has spent the last few months developing the AI and ML track, with assistance from the developer and creative Dan Davey.

“Kids have amazing imaginations but often lack the tools to bring their ideas to life. That’s where AI comes in: Co-creation with Artificial Intelligence. This is an exciting new phase of human creativity and in this project track, kids will experience and explore what it means to be creative with AI helpers that they can program themselves,” Davey said.

“The most exciting aspect is that after completing this track, kids will be equipped with the tools needed to tackle all sorts of life challenges with the help of AI – tools that help them build the future,” he added.

AI Will Power Everything Soon

Davey shares the same excitement, as he explains that AI is the “new electricity” because even though the neural networks behind AI are a young technology, they’re starting to power all technology.

Most people (including programmers) see computers the same way that teachers see kids: give them a series of instructions to follow, and make sure they do the “right” thing. Neural networks are a different ballgame. Instead of giving instructions to an AI, the AI itself grows with information and feedback as it builds a unique model of the world. This is also the Mindjoy way: helping kids to discover the world on their own terms, with guidance and support.

“Writing stories with GPT-3 feels a lot like working with a smart and creative human and challenges ideas of what it means to be creative. It even makes us wonder about deep questions like consciousness and “the self,” Immelman explains.

Creativity’s Future

With AI, everyone can have the tools to express themselves in ways they’ve never been able to, Immelman added

So far, kids that have used GPT-3 find it absolutely incredible and Mindjoy wants to give them more opportunities to be amazed by their world and harness these new superpowers.

“Growing up alongside AI means kids have the tools to build an amazing future for everyone, which is what Mindjoy is all about,” Immelman concludes.

Edited by Zintle Nkohla 

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