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Artificial Intelligence

Author(s): Kelly O'Donnell

Science Forward

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This video explores what artificial intelligence is and features people who work on different aspects of intelligence. How do we make machines that think like humans? How can we tell when we’ve accomplished this feat?

Licensed under CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms

Version 1.0 - published on 25 Jul 2018 doi:10.25334/Q4WH8M - cite this


Can we say that machines really think? Or will they ever be able to?  As scientists develop increasingly complex machines and software, they look carefully at issues of sensory information, decision-making, autonomy and collaboration. Studying artificial intelligence helps us to understand ourselves, and our own intelligences.

Science Senses:

Data Sense

  •      Separating signal from noise
  •      Collecting data
  •      Doing statistical analysis

Knowledge Sense

  •      Applying scientific knowledge

Classroom Ideas:

  • Intelligence Discussion – Have students work in groups to come up with qualities that are part of intelligence. Talk about how we measure these in humans. Discuss how we can tell if an AI agent has these traits. (KS – Applying scientific knowledge; DS – Making measurements, using proxies)
  • How big is big data? – AI is often used to handle extremely large data sets. Students can estimate the size of all of this data using back of the envelope calculations. (NS – Making back of the envelope estimates)

Possible Readings:

  • OpenStax. 2014. Chapter 7: Thinking and Intelligence from OpenStax, Psychology. OpenStax. OER
  • Pavlus. 2012. Machines of the Infinite. Scientific American. Sept

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