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Year 8

Lesson 5 Thinking machines

Curriculum > KS3 > Unit > Lesson

Even though the idea of creating intelligent artefacts can be traced in ancient myths, the single greatest step towards that vision becoming a reality was the invention of the computer. Less than a decade before the first electronic computers were built, Alan Turing “[proposed] to consider the question, ‘Can machines think?’” Given the advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning, especially in the last decade, a series of lessons on computing systems wouldn’t be complete without a nod to the field that has such potential to revolutionise our lives. In this lesson, learners will attempt to define the term ‘artificial intelligence’, and explore the kinds of problems that it has traditionally dealt with. They will also focus on machine learning, and investigate its relationship with conventional programming. Learners will move on to use Google Teachable Machine, to gain an insight into what training a model involves, and the ethical considerations that are tied into building any system that makes decisions.

Learning objectives

  • Provide broad definitions of ‘artificial intelligence’ and ‘machine learning’
  • Identify examples of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the real world
  • Describe the steps involved in training machines to perform tasks (gathering data, training, testing)
  • Describe how machine learning differs from traditional programming
  • Associate the use of artificial intelligence with moral dilemmas

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