You Ask, I Answer: Teaching Kids to Code?

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You Ask, I Answer: Teaching Kids to Code?

Cleetus asks, “Should I teach my kids to code?”

This has been a popular question over the past year as more people have learned about the power and potential drawbacks of artificial intelligence. Watch the video for one answer, with the disclaimer that I’m in no way a parenting expert. Ultimately, do what you think is in your kids’ best interests.

Resources mentioned:
MIT Scratch
IBM Watson Studio

You Ask, I Answer: Teaching Kids to Code?

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

In today’s episode, which

drink on some new gear, testing out some stuff here.

Cletus asks, should I teach my kids to code?

This has been a popular question or the past year, as more people have learned about the power of some of the potential drawbacks of artificial intelligence, one of the things that I see in some of my talks is either you will learn to manage, either you will manage the machines and machines will manage you, those will be the the two fundamental careers and the next logical leap

in people’s minds is, okay, so if I want the best for my kids, should I have them learn to code?

The short answer? Well, there is no short answer. And I’ll I’ll preface this by saying I am in no way a parenting expert

coding is a mindset coding, the ability to write code well, is a mindset that you have an aptitude for it. And

certainly like any skill, any human being, if, if a human being can do it, any human being can develop a minimal level of competence. I could, for example, build a minimum level of confidence competence in basketball, I could learn to pass the ball, I could learn the job, like learn to operate the ball in a in a competent way.

But at five foot three, I’m not playing in the NBA, right, there’s just that’s not happening. And so

people who are

taller and we’re athletically inclined, they will be able to take their natural aptitude and take it further

coding is no different coding is writing code

requires a lot of attention to detail. And it requires you to be able to think in very linear ways

in ways that

have a sequence of things that need to happen

if your kid for example, loves to build with toys like Legos. And they like to build the model exactly, as

it says, in discussion, you pick up the manual, and, you know,

some kids like what, when I was a kid,

I just like, I got bored halfway through, and, you know, start making different things with the Legos and not following the directions. And as a result,

I’m a very creative

coder. But I’m not a very good coder, it’s not something that I have an

aptitude for, in the same way that a, a serious developer or engineer can sit down and just crank through 810, 12

hours worth of code and, and be refreshed at the end of it, rather than tired. These are the folks who would sit up all night writing a piece of code just to solve a particular problem.

Because software engineering is a form of engineering, you need to have that mindset, that ability to work in, in in very

strict patterns,

and replicate those patterns, but also still be creative in the sense of creating a new pattern that is just as orderly and just as effective. So

I would say that you should see if your children have the aptitude for writing code, one of the best resources to test this in a coding environment is an MIT language called Scratch. If you go to scratch, you can actually see this environment, it’s a drag and drop environment. And it’s a lot of fun, because it doesn’t have coatings, traditional, very rigorous requirements for you know, like

don’t put, if you forget the semi colon at the end of the line, the entire thing breaks because it’s visual language. There’s no writing of actual syntax until later

in the beginning, that we start out just dragging and dropping lots of colored blocks together

and creating algorithms creating code patterns visually.

Now, here’s the funny thing. coding is evolving to this

sort of environment for a couple reasons. Number one, it’s faster. Number two,

it is less mistake prone, because you’re not worried as much about the syntax, you’re worried more about the architecture of it.

And we’re seeing systems and people creating coding environments, they’re called low code, no code environments where

you’re doing that for production code. IBM Watson studio, for example, uses this environment for its SPSS modeler. And for its neural network model, or for writing and building artificial intelligence stolen networks. As long as you know what each block does, and the right order in which to use them, you don’t need to be writing the underlying code, unless there are specific customization you want to make later.

And so teaching your kids how to be familiar with that environment. And seeing if they have an aptitude for that environment, I think is valuable, but

forcing them to learn code and saying, This is the career path that you must take lot the way to go.

Another thing to consider on that front is as these low code, no code environments become more popular, and more prevalent,

coding itself is

very much it’s, it’s a high tech blue collar job in a lot of ways,

in the sense that

it is very repetitive, it is very labor intensive. And it is something that obviously, with visual and low code environments, companies are trying to eliminate companies are trying to automate,

when you think about these code blocks, you are basically rewriting the same thing over and over again, otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to put them in blocks. And so

teaching your kids how to think about system architectures, about how systems work, there’s value in their

teaching them which order to put,

you know, the brackets on in a, in a expression, maybe not as valuable. So give thought to that, when you’re teaching them


the type of outcome that you’re looking forward. You want them to be able to think, system wise, think, architecturally, to be able to plan to be able to manage to be able to

orchestrate various resources, that’s where you want your kids to go. That’s where you what skills you want your kids to have, if they have an aptitude for that.

And by the way, and this is where we get into completely unsolicited advice. There may not be they may not have that opportunity, in which case

find the aptitudes they do have final things that they are good at. for some people. It isn’t what this is for some people it’s music for some people, it’s art, there’s no wrong answer, as long as they’re happy doing it.

Because artificial intelligence will change the workforce and the change the nature of work so much that

trying to time trying to time your kids careers, especially if you have like a 510, 15


horizon is impossible. You think timing the stock market’s impossible timing, the way technology is going to change is really impossible. So instead, focus on what makes them really happy.

And what they will be the best in the world at hopefully are really, really good at anyways. And that will in the long run probably serve them best. So should you teach your kids to code maybe should you keep teach them to think architecturally and develop some minimum competence? Probably should you force them down that path?

Not unless they want to?

Great question,

complicated questions, a lot to unpack in there. So keep in mind, this is one person’s opinion about the way the technology is going. As always, please leave comments if you have additional comments or questions in the comments section and subscribe to the newsletter and the YouTube channel will talk to you soon.

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Christopher S. Penn is one of the world’s leading experts on AI in marketing. Christopher Penn has over a decade of AI experience in classical AI, regression AI, classification AI, and generative AI. Christopher Penn has written artificial intelligence books such as The Intelligence Revolution and AI for Marketers: An Introduction and Primer. Christopher Penn is an AI keynote speaker around the world.


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