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A way to get childrens' input on what the world should prioritize

Image credit: Jerry Wang

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Sep 17, 2021
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Continuously ask every generation of kids what they would do if they were the president of the world. Use GPT3 to analyze and classify the answers. Make the data public and browsable with filters/tools. See what different parts of the world are struggling with and what problems we should prioritize.

Why?

  • Kids are learning machines - strongly motivated to make sense of the world around them. If asked at the right age, they should be a pretty good mirror of society. They should be able to pinpoint the most pressing problems in their local environments.
  • Kids don't have political agendas (unless brainwashed by propaganda, which would show in the answers and hint at an important problem in itself). They simply convey what they sense. Their answers would thus be honest.
  • The data would be useful to see what the next generation will focus on, what different parts of the world are struggling with, what problems we should prioritize, etc.

How it works

  1. At specific ages ask all kids in kindergartens and schools worldwide to complete the sentence "If I was the president of the world, I would ...".
  2. Have GPT3 classify the goals based on the problems they are solving.
  3. Open-source the anonymized statistical data and make it available online.
  4. Add various browsing filters so that anyone could examine the answers by geolocation, see the trends, etc.

2
Creative contributions

Kids tend to have a simplistic, selfish approach to understanding the world

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Manel Lladó Santaeularia
Manel Lladó Santaeularia Sep 19, 2021
Hi, I find this idea to be interesting in it's principle but to be conflicting in a couple of ways.

First of all, children may not have political agendas or as much negative bias as older people, but they do have a bias because of lack of knowledge. For example, as a kid I was very worried about animals going extinct because I had watched documentaries about this topic, but I knew nothing about the political problems going on in the Middle East, about global warming or about the shortage of plastics. For kids, a lot of things are boring and they don't get involved in knowing more about them. And some other things are very important to them but not really relevant in the overall picture.

That is because children unconsciously have a very selfish point of view of what is important or not. Things that affect them directly, or that relate with the things they like, are way more important than those things that affect others. That is common human nature, but with age and experience some of us learn that other people's problems, even if they are very far away and we will never meet them, are also very relevant and should be taken care of.

Similarly, while children don't have political agendas, children learn about the world from the people they grow around (especially their parents) and the people they look up to (influencers in the recent years), and are easily influenced by the political and general views of these people. For this reason, it is difficult to isolate what the kid thinks is important or how a kid thinks a problem should be solved, from the input and information they get and which sources they get it from.

For these reasons, I believe that we should first focus on getting children more involved in understanding the big problems of the world from a very objective and apolitical point of view. And I believe that kids should be told and asked about these topics when they reach a certain age. Adolescence is taken by a lot of people as a bad, dark period when we are all weird and stupid, but it has been proven that adolescence is the most important time for establishing one's personality, interests and concerns. I believe getting teenagers involved in the important issues of humanity is the right way to raise a more involved young generation. Actually teenagers now are way more involved in causes like LGTBQ respect, global warming and veganism than any other generation before them, thanks to the exposure these topics get on the internet and other media.

I believe that we should give a voice to these teenagers (Greta Thurnberg started as and should have been an example of that) but we have to find better ways for that.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 months ago
Kids in the middle east will know all about the local pressing problems even if kids in Europe don't. Adults that care about a specific area would see what their kids worry about. That's a wake-up call.

Also, people who care on a global scale would be able to browse around. There would be statistics and percentages for those who want to start from the top.

I didn't know this until I had kids. They (we) are sense-making machines. Kids work extra hard to make sense of the world around them. They (we) are especially interested in dangers. Kids constantly eavesdrop and scan the adults to see how they react to information and try to figure out why they reacted that way. They scan us 24/7 way before they learn to ask the right questions. Before that, they at least know some words and matching feelings attached to those words.

I'm pretty confident that kids would know what problems we need to focus on. The most pressing problems are repetitive and loud enough for them to not be able to miss them. How old was Greta Thunberg when she became obsessed with global warming? What I'm proposing is to poll children to figure out what they have figured out about the world so far.
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Such a method can be used to get information from adults too

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Samuel Bello
Samuel Bello Sep 19, 2021
The idea is nice. I think more useful information can be gotten from adults with the same method. The obvious reason being that adults are more aware of their own problems and the problems that people around them face.

One could argue that such a system already exists since we have the internet but not all people are active on the internet and people will be more likely to share their problems if they know that other people will go over their problems and possibly proffer solutions to such problems.

I think there should just be a platform where people share their own or other people's problems. They get the option to share them anonymously if the problems shared are sensitive ones. The users' age, location, and other parameters can be collected to filter contributions by status. That way the information can be filtered to give only the responses from children like the original idea was intended to do.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 months ago
The way I see it for this particular use case:
kids vs adults = order vs chaos

The problem isn't that we don't know our problems. The problem is that there is no reason for large communities or even the world to collectively prioritize the list starting from the top.

A consensus as agreed by our kids should make people think.
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