By Francis Rousseau-Brochu, MA, science educator
Artificial intelligence (AI) is always in the headlines: from driving a car to voice recognition to harvesting broccoli! It is establishing itself in many professional fields and is more than ever part of our daily life. The Boîte à Science - Technoscience de Québec et Chaudière-Appalaches offers an activity to discuss the subject in class with high school students.
Teaching emerging technologies and how they relate to current events can be a challenge for teachers. The workshop AI, follow your algorithm is an asynchronous activity that allows high school students to discover artificial intelligence and the functioning of artificial neural networks.
Why talk about artificial intelligence?
AI is increasingly present in society in general. Moreover, whether they are aware of it or not, adolescents come into contact with AI every day and it can influence their behavior; starting with the social media they are constantly connected to or the voice assistants that are deployed in homes. In this context, the team of The Science Box - Technoscience of Quebec and Chaudière-Appalaches is convinced that it is relevant to awaken them to this situation.
The objective is also to activate the creative spirit of young people. Who knows, maybe it is in the mind of a student that the next idea of an innovative AI will germinate. The prospect is not unrealistic. Moreover, as part of the Quebec and Chaudière-Appalaches regional final of the Hydro-Quebec 2020 Science Fair, one of the college-level participants had designed an AI intended to improve the precision of machining metal parts. . His project earned him the gold medal and participation in the provincial final.
Introduce multidisciplinary issues
The workshop AI, follow your algorithm presents the different components of AI and immerses students in the functioning of an artificial neural network. It explains how a machine can come to learn and lists the items necessary for that machine to make a decision.
This is an opportunity to introduce multidisciplinary issues, whether social, technological and legal, and which affect several fields: mathematics, computer science of course, but also biology. Indeed, the technologies used by the AI during the workshop are inspired by the human brain, certain principles of evolution and genetics.
The workshop includes a video capsule during which one of the organizers of the organization popularizes AI and gives explanations for carrying out the four activities in class. In addition, an educational guide accompanies the capsule to support the teacher in carrying out the workshop.
The workshop is intended for students of the 3e to the 5e secondary school in the Capitale-Nationale and Chaudière-Appalaches regions. It lasts 75 minutes. Although the 30 beaches on offer are already full, it is possible to subscribe to the waiting list on the organization website.
The workshop is produced with the support of the Government of Quebec and is designed in collaboration with Bentley Systems and Collège Saint-Charles-Garnier.