UPDATE #1: BONUS KIDS ROBOTICS GUIDES FOR ALL PLEDGES.
UPDATE #2: STRETCH GOAL #1 AT $4000: A VIDEO READTHROUGH
On top of the printed / ebook AI guide, if we can get the campaign to $4000, I will create a high quality video readthrough of the guide.
Do you sometimes wonder how to best prepare your kids for an uncertain and technology-filled future?
Does all the talk about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), STEAM (the A is Art), STREAM (the R is robotics), artificial intelligence, automation and coding sometimes seem overwhelming?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then you’re not alone.
Many teachers, parents and carers regularly have these thoughts.
As a father of two young children, I know I do.
So I created The Complete Guide to Artificial Intelligence for Kids, a 50 page fully illustrated guide that introduces children to today's most transformative technology and all the key concepts underlying it.
Read on to find out why, see what's inside the guide, find out how you can get one (or enough for an entire school) and lots more:
Preparing Kids for an Uncertain Future
As a Professor of Robotics, I get a better preview of the future than most. I have been able to visit and see behind the scenes at the world's top technology corporations (including Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Elon Musk's OpenAI), start-ups and research labs (including Harvard, Oxford and MIT).
And it will be a very different world, one full of robots, self-driving cars, automation; with artificial intelligence (AI) driving it all.
Jobs and society will never be the same. And this change will affect one group in society more than any other... our kids.
“How can I prepare my kids or students to succeed?”
“Will robots or artificial intelligence take their jobs?”
I get these questions a lot.
No-one knows exactly what is going to happen (despite those who would claim otherwise).
What we do know is that the children who prosper in future will understand the key concepts underlying these new technologies like AI (even if they aren't all coding it themselves).
And this understanding can’t be left until high school. Technology enters a child’s life from the first time they touch a smartphone screen or talk to a virtual assistant. And its influence will grow as AI and robotics become more widespread.
The Complete Guide to Artificial Intelligence for Kids helps young kids get a grip on AI, and in doing so helps prepare them for their future.
A Guide to All the Key AI Issues
The guide touches on all the key issues in AI, including:
- What is AI?
- Neural network-based AI and biological intelligence
- How does AI learn? Training AI, and comparisons to how we learn.
- The importance of appropriate data for training AI and the potential for discrimination
- What can AI do well? Covering topics like image recognition, medicine, games...
- What does AI not do well (at least currently)? Covering topics like emotions, creativity, music, painting, unexpected situations...
- Challenges for AI including topics like driverless car decision making
- Potential problems including AI taking jobs and military AI
Here I've included some sample pages from the guide that cover some of these points:
What's in the Guide
The guide is a 50 page, A5 size (148 mm x 210 mm), full-color illustrated booklet.
The cover will be 250 gsm gloss artboard (normal printer paper is about 80 gsm, so 3 times thicker) and the pages will be 150 gsm gloss artpaper (double thickness of normal paper). gsm stands for "grams per square metre" and is a measure of how thick paper or card is.
The complete draft contents can be seen here:
We will be updating and continuing to test the guide throughout the campaign - and welcome any feedback for desired content or issues to be covered!
Here are some close-up shots of a previous title to show you what the actual physical product size and appearance is like. The AI guide will have the same dimensions (A5 size, 148 mm x 210 mm).
The photo below shows a draft guide (not final production quality, minus back cover) to give you an indication of its dimensions.
Inclusivity for Gender, Ethnicity and Career
AI- and technology-related fields still suffer from a gender imbalance, amongst other issues.
This guide practices positive inclusivity, with:
- male and female presence throughout,
- a mixture of ethnicities and abilities,
- specific treatment of inclusivity-related topics such as bad training data leading to biased AI
Meet the Creator
I am a Professor in Robotics and the founder of Math Thrills Pty Ltd, a startup that creates entertainment like STEM Storybooks and young adult novels that stealthily embed key mathematical concepts.
I have been passionate about innovation in education for my entire adult life and have led a number of initiatives in educational outreach and engagement.
Here's some of the stuff we've done to date:
- Run three successful educational Kickstarter campaigns: Maths Thriller, A Robot for Every Child, and the STEM Storybook, which is a precursor to this AI guide.
- Written a series of successful STEM textbooks, a maths novel and an early childhood STEM Storybook.
- Run workshops and given keynote talks on Artificial Intelligence to high school kids, teachers, CEOs, and representatives from the transport, infrastructure, recycling, finance, investment, politics, government and technology sectors and many more
- In association with the AMP Foundation, carried out a nation-wide giveaway of mathematics novels and study guides to more than 180 schools around Australia.
- Run math workshops in schools and a successful "Maths in the Movies" event at World Science Festival Brisbane 2017.
- Written a regular "Maths in the Movies" series for The Conversation including movies like Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-man:Homecoming, The Mummy, Alien: Covenant and Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2.
- Won multiple awards including a 2016 AMP Tomorrow Maker Award, a 2015 Queensland Young Tall Poppy of the Year Award and a 2006 Queensland Young Achiever of the Year award.
- Gave a TedX talk on "How Hollywood can save math education"
- Shown Federal and State Ministers the mathematics behind those Hollywood code cracking scenes on a mock ticking time bomb
After the birth of my two children Ethan and Rachel (who are now 3 and 5), I've become increasingly interested and active in creating educational resources that introduce them to key STEM concepts and the technologies that will shape their lives.
That started with the STEM Storybook (already a successful Kickstarter Campaign with backers in 10 countries around the world), which The Complete Guide to Artificial Intelligence for Kids follows.
What People Have Been Saying
Here's some feedback regarding previous titles in the STEM Storybook series (note the book pictured is not the AI guide but a previous title):
"As a father of three young children, the ability to integrate basic STEM skills in to everyday story telling is incredibly powerful for learning development. The STEM Storybook does this uniquely and in a fun way, as well as providing a glimpse in to modern day technologies that these children will embrace as they continue to learn. "
"We’ve been waiting for this book, and were so happy when it turned up. My son Luke has not put it down since it arrived, and does not stop retelling the stories once he’s read them. Thank you for putting these stories together, I am sure they will help him in his understanding of STEM concepts and begin him on his journey of curiosity and creativity. "
Thank You, Matt Milligan
"Our children were immediately engaged, first with the vibrant pictures and were kept entertained as we read through the stories. As our children grow they will understand more & more with the bonus of seamlessly integrating learning into their entertainment."
"My daughter really enjoys the STEM Stories, and loves trying to figure out the concepts involved."
Our initiatives in STEM education have been covered in many media venues:
We have a complete 50 page draft guide finished and have been testing it with kids. You can see me reading it with my kids at the top of this page.
We also have a commercial printer set up, and post and freight logistics all worked out. These are all familiar processes we have done many times before.
We will continue refining the guide during the Kickstarter campaign and will attempt to incorporate where possible any ideas or feedback from our backers.
The Kickstarter campaign is raising funds to assist with the following costs:
Print Production: The major cost is print production. We are using a local Australian printing company (one we have worked with many times before) to produce the guides.
Postage and Freight: The second major cost is postage and freight. We are using a combination of services like Australia Post and couriers like Sendle to get the guides to you as soon as possible.
Artwork Print Licenses: We have already purchased the artwork licenses required, which ensure that content creators are fairly compensated for their hard work.
Please Lend Your Support and Get Involved!
By backing this Kickstarter campaign, you help out in many ways:
- You directly help your kids and/or kids you know or teach by giving them an introduction to and better understanding of AI, a key technology that will affect their lives
- You have a chance to provide input on what you think should be included in the final guide
- You help support a growing initiative to improve the STEM and technological experiences and awareness of children
- You help fund the production costs including printing, shipping and paying artists
Thank you so much for your support... and if you haven't already, head on up to the Backer Rewards section and choose how you'd like to get involved.
And please tell all your friends and family - almost everyone knows someone with children or students. The more people involved, the wider the impact of this project.
Frequently Asked Questions
What age range will get the most benefit from the guide?
Kids in the age range 4 - 12 will all benefit from the guide, but in different ways:
- Reading the guide (not necessarily all at once) to 4 to 6-year-olds will introduce them to many of the concepts. Reading it to my kids (aged 3 and 5), I like to paraphrase some of the more complex concepts and skip some pages depending on what they are showing the most interest in. Simpler concepts will be accessible to most young kids e.g. the driverless car deciding what to do in a crash.
- 7 - 9-year-olds will appreciate some of the more complex concepts like the challenges of appropriate data for training AI - "bad data in, bad data out".
- 10-12-year-olds will be able to grasp all the concepts in the guide, opening up opportunities for in-depth discussion and debate around the many topics raised.
Of course, all ages (not just kids) can benefit from the guide, especially if you're unfamiliar with AI and recent technology developments.
Our school would love some copies but we can't do Kickstarter. How can we get some?
No problem - we can invoice you directly and provide a full tax invoice from Math Thrills Pty Ltd (ABN: 85 610 665 686, ACN: 610 665 686). GST is listed on invoice for Australian customers. Just contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can you include Topic X?
We'll try where possible to incorporate any suggestions or ideas from backers - please let us know in the comments or via the messaging system.
I missed your last "STEM Storybook" Kickstarter campaign and am interested in getting a copy
Just head on over to STEMStorybook.com to get your hands on a copy.
What if we don't like it?
I’m confident you’ll love the guide. But for peace of mind, it comes with a full 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re disappointed for any reason, you’ll get all your money back. No questions asked.
What's up with the international postage charges?
Unfortunately the only viable way to make the guides so cheap is to bulk produce them in a central location and then distribute them from there (print on demand is not viable).
Consequently postage from Australia overseas is relatively expensive. The international postage charges listed for each reward are less than what they will actually cost me - we are making a loss on the postage.
We could have "hidden" the postage costs in a higher guide price - but we wanted to be transparent. You can consider the overall cost - so for an international shipment of 100 guides (extreme early bird), the cost per guide including postage and handling is only $3 (AUD) per guide (that's only $2.35 USD / 1.96 Euro / 1.74 GBP as of this campaign launching).
Risks and challenges
*PRINT AND DISTRIBUTION LOGISTICS*
I have 17 years experience working with both Australian (small print run) and international printers (large print run) and freight companies. The printing company this project will be produced with is one we've successfully worked with multiple times over the past few years.
I've also successfully run and funded three previous Kickstarter projects (Maths Thriller, A Robot for Every Child, STEM Storybook) and delivered the final polished product to backers on time with great feedback.
In 2017 I led a campaign supported by the AMP Foundation which resulted in book packs being sent out to more than 180 schools around Australia.
*PRINTING AND SHIPPING MISHAPS*
On rare occasion, individual booklets can have printing errors, or deliveries go missing in the mail. In both cases I work closely with backers and couriers to ensure that a replacement is delivered as quickly as possible. The only risk here is a delay in an individual's receipt of the reward.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)