TKG KNOW: The Curiosity Cycle

From Want to Prepare Your Kids for the Singularity? Read Jonathan Mugan’s The Curiosity Cycle

by Aaron Saenz on

In the future your children won’t just be competing against other children, they’ll be pitted against robots and computers too. What’s a parent to do? Teach them about the best parts of being human: curiosity and creativity. Researcher Jonathan Mugan is bringing his specialty in machine learning to the nursery. His book, The Curiosity Cycle helps parents find simple ways of inspiring children to have the flexible thinking and boundless interest they’ll need to stay competitive in the 21st Century marketplace. It’s not about rote memorization or even developing specialized skills, it’s about raising kids who can understand the world through ever evolving models that they challenge and refine. An old school child will answer questions on a test because they are told they have to. A curious child will test themselves and their environment long before a teacher ever hands out an exam. Singularity Hub spoke with Mugan about The Curiosity Cycle and the science behind it. As machines take on bigger roles in society and the economy, humans will need to embrace the advantages of their humanity even as they take their rightful place at the top of the digital world.

Children aren’t born with degrees in psychology and computer science, but their brains seem to understand those principles all the same. The first two thirds of The Curiosity Cycle is largely focused on giving parents some subtle (and not so subtle) ways to inspire their children to approach the world with an adaptive and examining mindset. Mugan steps the reader through fun ways to introduce mathematical concepts, logic, patterns, and more, so that kids can have the foundation needed to build a complex understanding of how the world works. Many of the concepts will be familiar to those who have read books on developmental psychology, and other ideas will seem like well-articulated common sense. Still, Mugan’s first seven chapters serve as a wonderful reference in how to guide children towards self-education without necessarily resorting to overt lectures and lessons.

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