Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence programmed into computers with software. AI software applications make it possible for computers to learn, reason, plan, and decide. AI is being used increasingly to improve search engines, self-driving vehicles, human speech understanding, and more.
AI will likely be used increasingly in software to help humans be more productive and creative in many fields. STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), computing and the arts are some notable examples.
Like many innovations in history, AI will end up replacing certain jobs that humans currently do. One example in recent decades was when automated phone systems replaced many employees who spoke with business customers. Another example was the printing press, which eliminated the job of scribe, but ended up creating even more jobs than it eliminated in the growing newspaper and book industries. One of many examples in AI’s future could be self-driving cars replacing taxi and bus drivers. Perhaps AI will also create more jobs than eliminates, but only history will tell.
AI has been used on both sides of the cybersecurity field, to generate more capable attacks as well as defenses. AI itself may also be vulnerable to cyberattacks and viruses, but at the time this introduction was written (by a human), there have been no major news stories on the topic.
This set of activities introduces AI and has examples of how it can be used as a tool to develop (micro:bit) computer applications and images based on descriptions. With simple scripts, AI can do a good job of writing the script you describe. However, when describing and generating more complex scripts, you might find that what you really need is to strive to be a more skilled coder yourself to be able to use AI as a tool to write scripts.
Before you start
You will need:
- A Windows, Mac, or Chromebook computer with a browser and Internet access
After You Finish
You will be able to:
- Understand how AI can:
- Be used as a development tool
- Make mistakes
- Be well suited to some tasks, but not so much for others
As AI evolves, you will likely find yourself and others depending on it as a tool for everyday tasks as well as to solve challenging problems. It might be as simple as telling an AI to turn the lights on or off, or as complex as using it as a tool to help you design complex software or machines. Regardless, it’s a tool you are likely to make increasing use of. So understanding its strengths, weaknesses and flaws will hopefully help you be better at avoiding its pitfalls and benefitting from ways it can help.