Artificial Intelligence

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1 Learning Objectives

  • In this lesson you will develop an understanding of the learning strand Information Technology on your progress ladder, working towards Green level.

Understanding and being able to explain:

  • some aspects of what we term intelligence.
  • both sides of the debate whether or not a machine can display intelligence.
  • some examples of machines demonstrating behaviours that could be considered intelligent.
  • in which humans can make use of machines that demonstrate seemingly intelligent behaviour.

2 What is AI?

Learn It


  • In 1770, at Schönbrunn Palace, the world was introduced to the first Artificially Intelligent machine.
  • Called The Mechanical Turk the clockwork machine was able to play chess, and was able to beat all the human opponents pitted against it that day, typically in under half and hour.
  • There was one problem with the The Mechanical Turk, it was a hoax.
  • Inside the mechanism was space for a human to sit, and from where he could operate the machinery.
  • It would be over 200 years before a computer was able to convincingly beat a human at chess, when in 1997, Deep Blue beat the World Champion -Gary Kasparov in a 6 game match.

Learn It

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) is the intelligence exhibited by machines or software. What is exactly is intelligence?
  • As you will learn, we are already surrounded by AI, whether that be the route finding software in the maps app on your mobile phone, that enemy combatant in your FPS console game or the recommendation software used to suggest products to you based on your previous purchases.
  • A simpler explanation on what AI is:
  • A little more in-depth explanation:

Badge It - Silver

Learning strand: Information Technology

  • There are a few basic goals of AI research. These are to produce machines or software that are capable of:
    1. reasoning (making decisions)
    2. representing knowledge
    3. forward planning
    4. learning
    5. natural language processing (communication)
    6. perception (sensing an environment)
    7. move and manipulate objects
  • Watch the following videos and decide which (if any) of the goals listed above have been achieved by the AIs shown.

  • Add the below table to your notes and complete by watching the above videos.
  • Use ticks and crosses in the table below.
AI 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Chat Bots              
Robot Go              

Badge It - Gold

Learning Strand - Information Technology

  • Can computers be creative?
  • Answer the following answers into your notes from the above video.
  • Who was Lady Lovelace?
  • What was her test?
  • What examples of being creative are given?
  • Explain how evolution can be used to make music?

Try It

  • As you have no doubt gathered, the concept of AI is fairly broad.
  • Download and run this little Python Script by Mathieu Rodic
  • Have a (fairly boring conversation) with the bot.
  • Close the program and restart it.
  • Have another conversation.
  • Are there any differences the second time around?
  • How about a third time?
  • How about when you have a go with a friend's chatbot?
  • To what extent do you feel that the chatbot displays any of the goals of AI, as listed in the Silver Task?
  • How do you think this chatbot works?
  • Does looking at the source code for the bot (in IDLE) help at all?

Check your understanding

  • Time to show what you know!
  • Click here

Badge It - Platinum

learning strand: Information Technology

  • Deciding what qualifies as AI and what doesn't is not easy.
  • Something is Artificial if it is not naturally occurring - i.e. man-made.
  • What do we mean by Intelligence though?
  • Do animals display intelligence? How about fish? Insects? Worms?
  • The 17th century philosopher and mathematician, Rene Descartes, went as far as to suggest that all animals were nothing more than automata (machines made of muscle and bone) and incapable of true thought.
  • Others have suggested that we can see evidence of Intelligence in organisms as simple as protozoa or algae.
  • In your own words, try to define what you think it means to be intelligent.
  • If you were going to devise a test, that could classify a machine as intelligent or not, what type of test would it be?