Indian schoolboy Kautilya Katariya is not your usual 8 year old.
Like many boys his age, he loves getting into mischief and playing at home with his little brother – but he is also an IBM certified Artificial Intelligence professional and the world’s youngest computer programmer.
Two years after breaking the record as the planet’s youngest coder, Kautilya has developed his own chatbot and an image recognition system that allows cameras to identify fire and smoke to alert emergency services.
The youngster, who lives in Northampton, England, is a Microsoft Technology Associate and competes with international students in computing and programming.
He will put his impressive talent to the test at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Wednesday to speak about how governments can support children in learning about programming.
“I will talk about why I became a programmer, why kids should become programmers and how the government can support kids like me with an interest in tech,” he said.
“It develops problem-solving skills. I got interested when my dad gave me a wonderful book about building a programme. I liked it so much I finished it in a single day.
“That was when I got a love for computing, and I was 5 and a half.”
Kautilya blasted through his English school’s maths curriculum while he was learning from home during the pandemic.
The pint-size genius now attends four maths classes at school, a special class in year 3 as well as maths lessons for years 10, 11 and occasionally year 12.
When he isn't explaining to adults the intricacies of how AI will change the world, Kautilya enjoys cycling, puzzles and making paper animals out of origami.
Like many parents during pandemic home-schooling, his mum and dad struggled to keep up with Kautilya’s homework.
But when they found difficulty feeding his voracious appetite for books, they soon realised he may not be like other 5 year olds.
They searched online to find the age of the youngest programmer and discovered they could have a record-breaker in the household.
“He was a normal kid but was really interested, aged 5, in reading books and had amazing concentration,” said dad Ishwari Prasad Katariya, a computer software engineer.
“If the house was on fire, it wouldn’t matter as he would still be reading his book.
“It got to the stage where I was bringing home a new book each week and he was showing a real interest in programming.
“Once he got his hands into a laptop he could apply the information he had learnt – there was no stopping him.
“His teachers are very happy with him and the Covid situation gave him more chance to read at home.”
The schoolboy, who unsurprisingly wants to become a computer scientist, is due to address the RTA Hall of the World Government Summit at Dubai Expo 2020 about the future of learning and talent.
Despite an audience of thousands, he is not daunted by the prospect.
“It is fun learning with older children, I enjoy it,” he said of his older classmates, some of whom are 17.
“Governments can support us by raising awareness of technology and providing learning resources.
“They can also give access to laboratories and research centres. AI and technology should be added to the teaching curriculum.”