Discussion on AI to a child | 和孩子讨论人工智能

One of the children asked in class whether it was true that AI would replace a lot of jobs.   Yes and no, I said.   Our current AI is very good at pattern recognition, but not good at other things.   It does not have a brain like we do.

I started to explain that our current AI is like a model, which they know a bit.   To give a concrete example, I said, suppose you have two sets of numbers, one set is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and the other set is 2, 4, 6, 8, 10.  The computer is very good at (because we make it so) figuring out that the second set is twice of the first set.    It can recognize faces because all faces have 2 eyes, 1 nose, and 1 mouth, and have similar shapes.    In summary, it is very good at figuring out patterns if you let the computer have lots of them.

The children asked many great questions.  Some questions are truly profound, and can basically summarize the essence of the whole business of modeling.  It is amazing that how uncluttered minds can go straight to the point and not fooled by jargons or buzz.


The site is so good that its site name deserves to be in the title: https://distill.pub

What is it? It is the merge of digital science, math and art that translates technical hypes like AI into something that feels like poetry.

Boston dynamic robots

It is fun for kids to watch how robots are developed to do all these physical activities. There is nothing stopping our imagination.

Many Uses of 心

The following is from a Chinese school principal’s page:

Student’s Concentration       上課專心

Parent’s Participation            家長關心

Teacher’s Devotion                 老師苦心

Pupil’s Attention                     讀書用心

Volunteer’s Dedication         義工熱心

Children’s Companion          兒女貼心

Everyone’s Gratification      大家開心

The last character of each phrase above is “心”, which means “heart” in Chinese.   It is interesting that none of them says “brain”.    While any one of the above requires serious brain effect, it is the satisfaction of the heart is the primary goal.    Who is to say that the higher the emotion the lower the brain?

Life is but a dream

What happens to websites if computers are down?  Computers, I mean, include iphones and tablets.   Then all that many have built would be gone for good, possibly.

If my website is gone, then I have nothing to say but “life is but a dream.”

Learning by doing

Victoria is super handy with tools and she is not afraid of trying new things

Victoria is super handy with tools and she is not afraid of trying new things

To my dear daughters

Yes, it is your mommy’s own fault that she bought you all these books with pictures of princesses conveniently at supermarkets.  She calls you “my little princesses”, and, at the same time, she tells you that the movies or pictures of princess are going to make you stupid.  Yes, she is having a hard time making up her mind.

Every mother wants the best for her children.  Whatever the original version was, I have changed the story of Cinderella to the following for you:

Because Cinderella works hard and keeps her dream alive regardless her circumstances, she receives the help from a goddess, who helps Cinderella to make her dream come true.  If Cinderella were to be lazy and vain like her two stepsisters, her dream would not have come true.  

You asked me “Mom, when will the goddess come to help us and make me become a Cinderella?”

I replied “You have to work, study (especially math and mandarin Chinese) and play like you did today everyday.  Then your dream will come true.”


Hello world!

Welcome to Magic Math & Mandarin!

My name is Sarah Chen.  I am an actuary, data scientist and risk consultant.  I am also the mother of two little princesses.  I created this site to help children (and adults) learn mandarin Chinese and math.