What is artificial intelligence? How is artificial intelligence going to change our lives?
“Alexa, play my favorite song! Alexa, shut the garage door!” Imagine a world in which you simply call out a request while sitting in your living room and have a small computer comply. Suddenly, the driving beat of your favorite song fills the air while in the distance you hear the grind of the garage door coming down.
This scenario is no longer science fiction. Our world is becoming increasingly inhabited by machines that can talk to us, listen to us, perform as asked, and even solve problems with little to no direction from humans. A machine with artificial intelligence is one that can perceive its environment and change its computing and behavior to reflect that environment, all while using tools at hand to solve problems or reach goals.
In Artificial Intelligence: Thinking Machines and Smart Robots with Science Activities for Kids, readers ages 9 to 12 learn the early definitions of AI and discover how these definitions, and the tests that are applied to determine whether a machine has AI or not, have changed as machines have grown increasingly competent in unexpected ways. Through a combination of science activities and student-paced learning, readers discover the AI machines of today and their uses in various fields, such as entertainment, the military, and health care.
What about the future? How will AI affect the way we understand and integrate with technology and with each other? How can AI improve our lives? Is there anything dangerous about AI? What are the ethical issues surrounding the use of AI? Essential questions such as these promote critical examination of issues from all sides, while primary sources and science-minded engineering activities, such as experimenting with the programs Sound Net and iNaturalist and making a model of a neural network, let readers have a blast learning about the age of thinking machines we're in right now.