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Credit: Randi Williams

Kids, AI devices, and intelligent toys

Children are growing up with technology that blurs the line between animate and inanimate objects. How does this interaction affect kids’ development?

MIT Media Lab
Jun 6, 2017 · 8 min read
What do children think about machines that think? Credit: MIT Media Lab/Stefania Druga, Randi Williams, Jimmy Day
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Children and their parents, along with study helper Mariana Tamashiro (at right) during the playtest session in the Media Lab’s Lifelong Kindergarten group. Credit: Stefania Druga and Randi Williams
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Gus (6-years-old) playing with Anki’s Cozmo. Stefania asked, “Why is it important for the toy to have expressions?” Gus responded, “Because then they have…then they have a mind.” Credit: Stefania Druga
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(l-r) Study helper Yumiko Murai, 6-year old Viella, and study co-author Stefania Druga chatting with Google Home about sloths. Credit: Randi Williams
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(l-r) Adam (4-years-old) playing with Cozmo, while study co-author Randi Williams observed and asked questions. Credit: Stefania Druga

Why we collaborated

This video shows activities built with Ergo Jr. Robot in Scratch to teach kids how they could program and train a robot. Credit: Stefania Druga

Learning from others

In this video, study co-author Randi Williams interacts with the Pop Robot. Credit: Randi Williams

What’s next?

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In researching how kids could create their own AI devices in the future, we’re inspired by the philosophy of learning through tinkering and making — as seen in this photo of Scratchers taking part in the Light Play workshop at this year’s Scratch Day @ MIT. Credit: John Werner Photography

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