It was great to speak with Jonathan Kim, founder and Chairman of Aicon, a company that’s focused on using AI to improve early childhood education.
Jonathan has a fascinating background intersecting various business verticals such as AI, Venture Capital and mobile with an impressive career holding down executive positions at Samsung, JPL, Crosslink Capital and Qualcomm.
During his time at JPL, Jonathan saw an opportunity for AI and in an early learning environment. He realized that even though the tools we are using today in the classroom have changed, the fundamentals behind how we teach kids haven’t. According to Jonathan, we are living in a post AI world and he wanted to build something that would help both parents as well as kids. He asked himself 2 main questions: What are we teaching kids today and how do we teach them? While much of the focus of AI today revolves around the frightening prospect of computers taking our jobs and being something to fear, he wanted to make sure AI is leveraged as tech tool that can better help parents become involved in their child's’ education.
Most kids today interact with technology, such as tablets everyday, but do so either to watch videos or play games, his thesis is that if that time could be transitioned into a learning environment, even if it was just 30 to 60 minutes per day, that could create huge gains in learnings for the child. Above all he sees fostering curiosity as key to this. Beyond curiosity, Jonathan feels that its necessary for parents to be nurturing other skills such as resilience and a love of learning. Kids will need to be driven by curiosity to drive that love of learning. Aicon technology will be able to play a role as the child’s best friend or online tutor. He is also very mindful that this is not to replace human interaction, that it’s important to have and nurture social skills, but the main issue today is most educators don’t know how to teach a child using a tablet, there is a disconnect. Many people have an immediate reaction to screen time as being bad, but Jonathan feels screen time can be good in the right scenarios and even important to cultivate the skills that will be necessary for children growing up in a post AI world. Also a key piece to what’s missing in children’s technology consumption patterns is the role of the parent and that’s something Aicon aims to change.
The beauty of AI is that you can apply machine learning and deep learning to the on-boarding process in a way that can identify issues early, such as a child with attention deficit disorder ADD and give parents perspective into their child’s learning patterns. The game he is building is one that would grow with the child over the course of 6 to 7 years. The technology will be personalized to that child’s particular learning patterns, his vision is that a child would prefer to use Aicon v Google to search for answers.
We discussed the real and coming dangers of AI with Singularity on the horizon and how even will need to adopt the very mind frame Aicon will instill in children, that being a hunger for knowledge, every present curiosity and resilience. It was a super insightful conversation into the impact of AI on future generations and what we all need to do to prepare for a completely new way of life. Take a listen!
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