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Ocado unveils AI game for schools

Online grocer Ocado is calling for the UK education system to change, and for the subject of artificial intelligence (AI) to be part of the national curriculum.

Having recently debated the topic in the House of Lords and following the government’s recent AI investment announcement, the retailer and technology company is launching a new related game for schools. 

Ocado said the game, called AI:MMO, has been designed to help shape the next generation of AI experts and establish the UK as a world leader in the field. 

The plan is to make it available for secondary school pupils and follows the success of Code for Life’s Rapid Router game. A free educational platform, the new tool is designed to help teachers teach the basics of AI during computer science classes. 

According to Ocado, AI:MMO is aligned with the England, Wales and Northern Ireland computing curriculum announced in 2013 and will be hosted by not-for-profit group Code for Life.

Paul Clarke, the Ocado CTO, who has long championed placing more focus on technology in schools, said: “We need to rethink the whole curriculum in terms of future-proofing it – and I say that as a father and as an employer… preparing children for this much smarter, more automated future is what we need to do and we need to do it across the whole curriculum.”

The new AI tool for schools was launched at a special event at CodeNode on Tuesday 22 May, where delegates discussed why they think AI should be part of the national curriculum, and why the education system needs to change.

Clarke formed part of the speaker line-up at the event, alongside Paul Curzon, Professor of Computer Science at Queen Mary University of London and co-founder of Computing at School, and Andy Lawson, general manager of Salesforce UK& Ireland, who is spearheading an initiative to create a level playing field for education in technology.

Teachers and students – involved in the beta testing of the game – were on hand at the event to share their thoughts on the technology and the subject of AI in schools.