Feb 17, 2021
As a species, humans have an extra-long childhood. And as any parent or caregiver knows, kids are expensive—they take an extraordinary amount of time, energy and resources to raise. So why do we have such a long childhood? What’s in it for us as a species? According to Alison Gopnik, PhD, of the University of California, Berkeley, the answer is that kids are the "R&D division of humanity," with brains optimized to explore the world and seek out new knowledge and experiences. Gopnik discusses her research and its implications for how we think about the purpose of childhood, how we raise and educate our children, the role of grandparents in teaching the next generation, and even how we might develop artificial intelligence systems inspired by children’s remarkable learning abilities.
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Alison Gopnik, PhD