What are AI and Machine Learning, and why are they important to you?

By the end of this lesson on AI and Machine learning, students in the 9th grade technology seminar will be able to:

  • Explain the idea of intelligence especially as it relates to computers.
  • Explain what it means for a machine to “learn”.
  • Discuss whether computers are intelligent or whether they only behave intelligently.
  • Why is it important right now?
  • What pitfalls created by AI potentially lie in our future?

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is a concept involving computers and how they can be taught or can teach themselves to solve tasks that a human brain could solve. Let’s watch the following video to learn more about the three main types of AI.

Part 1: Learn about AI

Let’s watch a few clips from the movie Baymax to learn more about AI.


Part 2: Time to play with some AI experiments

Spend the next 5-10 minutes playing with these AI experiments.

Quick, Draw! Google’s AI game to recognize human doodling:

AI Piano Duet:

Teachable Snake (you’ll need some plain white paper and a pen to draw an arrow on it):

Part 3: Why is AI important to our future?


Part 4: Why should you be concerned about AI?

Again, let’s watch one more video, a clip from Stanley Kubrick’s famous film 2001: A Space Odyssey

If you have 5 minutes, this essay is worth a read: http://www.technologyreview.com/review/534871/our-fear-of-artificial-intelligence/

Questions for your blog post:

  1. What types of AI are demonstrated by the quick draw, piano duet and teachable snake games? Base your answers on the first video we watched.
  2. Describe how the computer “learned” in the piano duet experiment.
  3. What types of tasks could a smartphone replace in our daily lives? In order for the phone to remind someone to purchase flowers for their spouse in celebration of their anniversary, what things would the phone need to know in order to correctly predict and inform a person that they need to pull their car off the road to stop at a flower shop?
  4. What type of AI is demonstrated by HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey? Why is AI so concerning for some people? How do you feel about AI and its possible risks in the future?
  5. What type of AI is demonstrated by Baymax in the Big Hero 6 clips? Is his behavior pre-programmed, learned, reverse-engineered or some combination of all three?