It’s basically Top Trumps: that card game I used to play as a kid where you choose one of the attributes on a card, and if it beats the other player you get their card. Except it’s online, and you’re playing against a computer.
But the computer hasn’t been given any strategies on how to play, and has to learn from the player.
Initially, it makes random choices, but it learns from playing against the player. The more turns it plays, the more training it gets, which it uses to make predictions of which choice would give it the best chance of winning. Read the rest of this entry »
A simple hands-on activity to let kids train a machine learning classifier to be able to play Rock, Paper, Scissors.
I’ve written and spoken before that I think we should do more to introduce children to the idea of machine learning. And I’ve tried introducing my two kids to it, such as by making a Code Club-style game with them: we built a system to play Guess Who, that they trained both to understand what you say and to recognise the characteristics of faces from photos.
This weekend, we tried out another idea – Rock, Paper, Scissors from a web app, using the web cam to see your moves, and training a system to recognise your hand signs.
I tried introducing my two kids to machine learning by helping them make a game this week.
In this post, I’ll try and explain why, how we did it, and how it went. And if you make it all the way to an end, I’ve got some videos and a link to a demo to show you what we made.
I think we need to introduce the basic concept of machine learning to children.
I think the current approach to introducing coding using things like Scratch aren’t enough. This isn’t to say Scratch isn’t great (I’ve been running a Code Club every week for the last couple of years, delivered almost entirely using Scratch, so I’d be the last person to say it isn’t a fantastic tool). It lets you snap together blocks representing actions to teach the programming mindset of getting a computer to do something by you breaking the task down into a series of steps.
I think we need to add to this with something that introduces the model of machine learning – getting a computer to do something by training it with examples of doing that task.
This week is half-term and I have the week off work, so I thought I’d finally spend a bit of time trying it out by experimenting on my own two daughters (Faith and Grace, who are aged 7 and 11).
In Code Club, I mostly try to introduce programming concepts by helping the kids to create games. Sticking with what seems to work, I’ve helped them to make a game by training an ML system how to play it.
Or a helpful pointer for developers contributing fixes and changes to an existing code base.
Do you remember that old Gwyneth Paltrow movie Sliding Doors? Imagine that she’d been a software developer who had been asked to fix a problem with an existing software project.
Next thing you know she’s running for the train, some kid gets in her way and she misses the train but also gets the train, one of her gets a dramatically convenient hair cut, and we’re left with two Gwyneths and two insights into how things could play out.