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My nine year old is learning to code because of AI

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses how the author's 9-year-old daughter, Emma, is learning to code with the help of AI-powered tools and assistants. It highlights the significant differences between learning to code today compared to the author's own experience in the 1980s, and how AI-powered features like integrated chat, code autocomplete, and AI-assisted debugging have drastically reduced the friction and frustration traditionally associated with coding.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] Learning to Code with AI

1. What are the key AI-powered features that have made learning to code easier for Emma?

  • Integrated chat with GPT-4 that has access to the entire code base as context
  • Fancy autocomplete of code via Copilot++
  • Ability to describe the code in plain English and have the AI write it
  • "Debug with AI" feature that can provide suggestions for fixing issues based on the stack trace

2. How has the use of AI-powered tools affected Emma's experience of learning to code?

  • It has drastically reduced the friction and frustration traditionally associated with coding
  • It has increased the instant gratification and feedback loop, which is critical for developing a love for digital building
  • Emma was able to go from a simple "Hello World" program to a well-styled web app with persistent memory in under an hour, without the author's hands touching the keyboard

3. What was Emma's reaction to successfully creating her own app?

  • Emma was beaming with a sense of accomplishment and possibility, feeling like she had discovered a new superpower
  • She immediately started thinking of ways to improve the app, showing her eagerness to continue learning and iterating

[02] Comparison to Learning to Code in the 1980s

1. How did the author's own experience of learning to code in the 1980s differ from Emma's experience?

  • The author learned to code on a TRS-80, which he felt was a much more accessible introduction to coding compared to what kids have today
  • The author laments that it is much harder for kids to learn to code in 2024 compared to 2022, due to the significant advancements in AI-powered coding tools

2. What was the author's initial reaction to Emma's preference for using the Claude API over the OpenAI API?

  • The author was surprised that Emma already had opinions about different LLM APIs, and that she preferred Claude because she felt it was better at writing.
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