By Sam Piha
Almost every day there is a piece in the news about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its dangers. AI is all around us, and whether or not you realize it, people use artificial intelligence every single day. Many young people, even those who are very tech savvy, know little about this topic. Adults, including those in afterschool programs, know even less. Yet, AI is being used by companies more and more.
We believe that youth need to understand more about AI, and afterschool is a perfect place to do this. But are afterschool leaders equipped for this? See our briefing paper on AI and afterschool here.
According to Inspirit Scholars, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the ability for a computer to think and learn.
In Teachers Need PD on Artificial Intelligence. What It Should Look Like, author Lauraine Langreo writes “AI technology:
- Refers to computers or machines that are programmed to perform tasks that we usually think only humans can do – by copying human thought or behaviour. The technology is used to predict things (e.g. how a virus may spread), make recommendations (e.g. what online videos to watch next), or make decisions (e.g. how an essay should be graded).
- Replicates human-like intelligence by training machines and computer systems to do tasks that simulate some of what the human brain can do. It relies on systems that can actually learn, usually by analyzing vast quantities of data and searching out new patterns and relationships. These systems can actually improve over time, becoming more complex and accurate as they take in more information.”
To learn more about introducing AI to young people, check out this brief video by Inspirit Scholars entitled, What is AI for Kids? An Introduction to Artificial Intelligence for Kids.
|Source: Inspirit Scholars|
All of these examples, below, use artificial intelligence. Many AI computers can perform tasks that are typically done by people, including processing language, problem-solving, and learning. Artificial intelligence examples include:
- Self-driving cars
- “Alexa” or Apple’s “Siri”
- iPhone’s face recognition
- Movie Recommendations: If you have ever streamed a movie on Netflix, for example, you will receive recommendations for other movies based on what you have watched already. That’s because of AI!
- Chatbots: Many websites have chatbots that help answer your questions. Most are run by AI.
- Search Engines: Search engines, like Google use AI to rank websites in your search results.
It’s important for educators to understand AI so they can help their youth make sense of a technological development that is predicted to be a huge force in the world, experts say. It’s crucial for educators to be AI literate, to be able to explain what it is, and to understand its powers and limitations.
“If students are going to be learning about it, then teachers need to be learning about it.” - Daniela Ganelin, a Stanford University doctoral student who recently co-wrote an educator guide to AI.
According to Bernard Marr (Forbes) in The 15 Biggest Risks Of Artificial Intelligence, “AI does present some significant dangers — from job displacement to security and privacy concerns — and encouraging awareness of issues helps us engage in conversations about AI's legal, ethical, and societal implications.
Marr describes the biggest risks of artificial intelligence:
- Lack of Transparency
- Bias and Discrimination
- Privacy Concerns
- Ethical Dilemmas
- Security Risks
- Concentration of Power
- Dependence on AI
- Job Displacement
- Economic Inequality
- Legal and Regulatory Challenges
- AI Arms Race
- Loss of Human Connection
- Misinformation and Manipulation
- Unintended Consequences
- Existential Risks
Many believe that the best way to mitigate the risks of artificial intelligence is to develop national and international regulations.
In her article, What is AI for Kids? An Introduction to Artificial Intelligence for Kids, author Maddie Bradshaw presents some discussion questions that are appropriate for adults and youth:
- What do you think of when someone says AI?
- How are AI technologies already a part of your daily life?
- What excites and worries you about AI?
- What more would you like to learn about AI?