Potsdam University of Applied Sciences allows children to develop artificial intelligence game

back dam. Three beautiful wooden blocks. One has four buttons on one side and a slot on the other, the second has a circular lighted area, and the third has different connectors. There are also plastic shapes, some cables, and small components, such as a lamp or a small fan. Everything together makes up “Any Cubes”, a new type of game that aims to make AI more learnable.

Read more after the announcement

Read more after the announcement

Alexander Scheidt, philosopher and research associate in the Childhood Education and Training course at Potsdam University of Applied Sciences (FHP), holds a mini unicorn in front of the opening of the first cube. Then he presses the button next to his pink sticker. Now the second cube has a pink light lit. Now Scheidt holds the shape of a small stamp in front of the hole and presses the button with the blue label. The surface of the second cube suddenly glows blue.

The cube learns to distinguish objects

The small hole of the first cube is a camera. The cube depicts the objects in front of it. By pressing the various buttons, Scheidt programmed the “Any-Cubes”, which are communicated via WLAN, to distinguish between a unicorn and a seal. From now on, every time you hold the unicorn in front of the hole, the pink light will flash, if you hold the seal in front of it, the blue light will flash. A tiny artificial intelligence has been created that can distinguish a rhino from a seal.

Read more after the announcement

Read more after the announcement

The game can be expanded with the third dice. These things can be connected to electricity. Playback is programmed by pressing a button and taking a picture. This is how you learn to control smart devices. But you can’t buy “Any Cubes” that won delina’s prize for future educational projects anywhere. It was hand-developed by Alexander Schmidt at FHP with interface designer Tim Pulver, education student Miliani Miliani and product design student Lukas Schmidt-Wiegand. Prototypes are still being tested.

Schedet explains that “Any Cubes” are toys and educational tools for psychological research all in one. As a learning group, they demonstrate the simple principles of Artificial Intelligence (AI). As a research tool, it reveals the thought processes of children and adults. One of the questions could be what children and adults discover by playing with ‘which cubes’ and the accessories themselves. Can you see the connection between button presses and certain lights flashing? Did they ever understand that they could teach the system to recognize objects? Can they even mess around with some useful apps with the third cube? How much explanation do they need to be able to do anything with the system at all?

How does causal thinking work?

Shedd calls American psychologist Alison Gopnik an important suggestion. The UC Berkeley professor deals with causal reasoning. How do children and adults form theories about connections in the world? “I’ve always been very interested in children’s understanding of causation,” Scheidt says. You also need to understand causal relationships in order to unravel the function of ‘any cubes’.

It’s amazing what kids actually do with dice. For example, twelve-year-olds programmed the cubes to distinguish between different distances by allowing them to shoot at different distances from the cubes. Others made a feed system for seals using a conductor cube. Only when the seal statue was brought in front of the camera did an electric funnel attached to the cube open and drop a piece of “food”.

About thirty children of different ages are familiar with dice. “We developed the project with a very small budget,” Scheidt says. Now the group’s dream is to bring “any cubes” to any application. It doesn’t have to be the new commercial demo set “My Super-Cubes” – a bag set for schools and educational institutions would be great too.

Read more after the announcement

Read more after the announcement

“Artificial intelligence as a technology has become an overused topic,” Schedt says. “Systems like this are becoming more and more common in everyday life.” These systems range from vehicle assistance systems to Alexa voice recognition and smart homes. It is crucial to make it literally understandable to children with aids such as cubes.

Artificial intelligence in the classroom

Basically, in Scheidt’s view, there is nothing wrong with AI in the classroom or children’s room, nor in video games. A popular online game like Minecraft can also be of educational value, especially since you can use it to design your own virtual worlds and learn something about the principles of construction.

Scheidt asserts: “The following should apply to AI in the nursery: only data obtained can be processed locally and not sent to the Internet.” In addition, users should always be in control of the models they have created with AI. “Children should teach AI something or be able to implement their creative ideas using AI.” That’s exactly what he, Tim Pulver, Miliani Migliani, Lucas Schmidt and Wiegand cared about when developing Any Cubes.

No artificial intelligence will ever replace the teacher. To do this, the system must be able to make judgments and think independently, and even have a will of its own. This happens in science fiction movies, but not in reality. If you will, even your dog is a better teacher than any robot. But as a teaching aid, either alone or in a group, AI can be very useful, Cubes prove.

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