New storybook introduces young children to complex AI concepts

SINGAPORE – Binary code, machine learning and data can be difficult concepts to grasp, even more so for young children.

But that’s exactly what AI Singapore hopes to achieve with a children’s storybook launched by the national artificial intelligence (AI) program on Sunday, March 13.

Aimed at junior primary school students, the book marks the first time that AI Singapore’s AI For Kids (AI4K) literacy program has been extended to young children to help them understand technology and how to use it in a meaningful way. efficient and responsible.

Sponsored by Meta, 10,000 free copies of the illustrated book, Daisy And Her AI Friends, will be given to low-income families. Books are stored in public libraries and not for sale.

The 40-page book centers on Daisy, a computer with legs, who is lost on her first day of school because she can only speak in binary code. Daisy meets other characters, each of whom teaches her a new technology-related concept to help her find her way.

The names of the seven main characters are a play on the letters “AI”, like Aishwarya, a computer vision application that can identify objects; Aiman ​​the sensor that can detect temperature changes; and their teacher, Miss Ai.

The characters are based on 10 winning designs chosen in a contest for elementary school students that received over 230 submissions.

Illustrator Tan Jia En, 21, took elements from those winning designs to inspire the characters’ final appearances in the book, which was written by AI Singapore.

Elements of elementary school student Alyssa Yong’s sketch were adapted into the final design of the book’s protagonist, including the eye-catching daisy worn on her head.

Seven-year-old Alyssa said her character design was inspired by elements of the house, such as the hands of a Lego minifigure, roller skates for fast traversing and arms based on a pipe of shower.

His father, Yong Chern Chet, 42, a doctor, said of the book: “It’s good that children learn these things early. Reading and writing for them will be more and more related to coding, which will be part of everyday life.”

Speaking at the book launch on Sunday, AI Singapore’s Senior Deputy Director of AI Innovation Koo Sengmeng said copies would be donated to low-income families to ensure equal opportunities for all. learn the concepts of AI.

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