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Teaching AI Ethics in Robotics

By Devin Partida

Scientists studying neural connections

Constant leaps are being made in artificial intelligence (AI). AI is constantly changing and becoming a bigger part of people’s daily lives. With AI tools such as ChatGPT taking the world by storm, artificial intelligence is much more than an app providing weather forecasts or the time.

While it might sound obvious that people created AI, it might not be clear to children. Kids are growing up without understanding what it is and how it works. Here’s how K-12 educators can teach STEM students AI ethics in robotics, why it is important and the resources they could utilize.

Why Should K-12 Educators Teach AI Ethics?

AI tools such as ChatGPT are becoming more prominent. People see and hear about them everywhere and use them to write essays and conduct research. Children might be introduced to them through their friends and family. There is an ethical dilemma with heavy AI use, however.

Kids are exposed to different types of ethics as they grow up. They learn workforce ethics such as being honest, having integrity, providing leadership and many more. Like these principles, AI ethics are also important.

They could start experimenting with these tools and utilizing them less productively, such as having AI do their homework. Children should be taught that these tools should only be used to help them. Schools should teach students the ethics behind AI just as they do with calculators.

Calculators can help you, but only if you know how to enter the required information. AI tools function the same way. Educators must prioritize teaching students about AI so they know how to use it properly and perhaps make a career of it someday.

AI Ethics in the Robotics Classroom

The idea behind robotics is to create machines — with the help of science, technology, mechanical and electrical engineering — that fulfill daily tasks and help humans with day-to-day activities. Programming plays an integral role. A firm and concrete understanding is required for the programs needed to operate robots.

Children are exposed to different technology and engineering practices in class that teach them the ins and outs of robotics in fun and interactive ways. Some STEM students even develop an interest in math and science because of their role in robotics. Artificial intelligence is a part of robotics and students must understand the ethics behind it.

Educators should teach AI and robotics to students with class activities that require a hands-on approach. They should start small by doing projects that introduce students to the basics — utilizing robotic kit projects for kids or building a robot from household items. These materials are fun and could spark interest in various STEM topics.

After students grasp some of the basic concepts, they could move on to more complicated topics in AI — such as building a chatbot. This enables kids to gather a deeper understanding of AI ethics. STEM learners can start building a basic bot and improve upon it as they learn about more complex concepts.

These projects help build fault-finding and problem-solving skills that are crucial and sought after in many careers. AI ethics within the classroom can be furthered by adding a chapter to learner modules. Frequent class discussions will also ensure students know why this topic is important.

Educators should practice what they preach. Students who see their teacher is not following these ethics would not feel inclined to either. Setting an example ensures STEM learners are well-informed and ethically educated on AI.

Create Lesson Plans With AI Ethics in Mind

Educators could incorporate AI in their lesson plans that teach students the ethics behind it. They can talk about AI and show students how to use it properly. It's vital to explain that people created these tools and they are not perfect.

They could also explain how these programs can make mistakes and require human input to function efficiently. Educators can also say that AI learns from people through machine learning and past human experiences to build a better understanding of a topic. Consider using different resources that teach students what AI is, how to use it and how to work with it.

5 Resources That K-12 Educators Could Use

Educators can use many materials to teach students about artificial intelligence. Teachers can read books, use learning materials and assign projects to help kids better understand AI. Here is a list of five resources teachers could utilize.

1.    Ian Goodfellow — “Deep Learning”

This book focuses on different topics surrounding deep learning. It also explains a few techniques that are being utilized today. Ian Goodfellow also covers probability theory, numerical computation, linear algebra and more.

2.    Martin Ford — “Architects of Intelligence: The Truth About AI From the People Building It”

This book is a great read to better understand what is happening in AI and how things are changing. "Architects of Intelligence" consists of the author's multiple interviews with people building AI. Educators could use it to create a better understanding of AI and discuss some of the topics with students.

3.    Code.org — AI for Oceans

“AI for Oceans” is a learning material suitable for third- and 12th-grade students. It includes various class activities students can partake in. This lesson plan explains AI in general and delves into topics such as bias and deep learning. It provides ideas on how AI can be implemented to help solve problems.

4.    MIT — Ethics of AI Curriculum for Middle School Students

This learning material is full of lessons and exercises educators could give to students. These plans are suitable for students in sixth to eighth grades. Kids are taught different technical topics and how to think of the ethical implications each one poses.

5.    Google — Teachable Machine

Educators could use this practical project to teach students how to create machine learning models. It requires no programming knowledge, making it perfect for kids.

Growing up With AI

Kids are growing up in a world filled with AI tools and robotics and may not understand how they operate and function. Teaching AI ethics in schools sparks interest and could encourage them to pursue careers in artificial intelligence.

Learn more about AI resources for the classroom with our AI LAB 

AI LAB For Education 


About the author: Devin@rehack.com 

Devin Partida


  • Jun 28, 2023 1:42:00 PM

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