Why AI Is Not A Substitute For Kids Learning To Code


There has been a lot of speculation about what the emergence of artificial intelligence (or AI) might mean for the future. While some raise fears of robots turning rogue and trying to wipe out humanity like the SkyNet system in the Terminator films, others warn it may take jobs away.

Among the latter was a claim made in February by the CEO of tech firm NVIDIA Jensen Huang that there would be no point in teaching children to code, because AI would soon be doing it all for them.

He remarked: "It is our job to create computing technology such that nobody has to program, and that the programming language is human. Everybody in the world is now a programmer.”

Instead, he argued, everyone should quit coding and go back to trying to become experts in other fields instead.

However, not everyone in the tech industry views AI in this way. Plenty of others will firmly advise you not to cancel plans to send your kids to summer coding camps.

Among them may be game developer Jason Dookaran of How To Geek. He explained that he tried using one of the most familiar AI applications, ChatGPT, to help code a game. He found that it certainly did not remove the need for coding knowledge.

Mr Dookaran explained that while ChatGPT can help with coding, its assistance still “requires you to understand a bit about what you're doing”.

Among the system's limitations was that it often failed to understand what it was being asked when required to tackle problems in creating a game using the familiar game engine Unity.

Matters got worse when using a less familiar system like Godot, where ChatGPT had “stopped learning in 2021 or thereabouts” and delivered a script based on an obsolete version of Godot.

All this goes to show that AI is far from being the silver bullet Mr Huang believes it is. Even when using AI to help code, you will need to know how to code to spot when - as is often - it is getting it wrong.