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Artificial Intelligence: Friend or Foe?

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KS3 Computer Science / design, use and evaluate computational abstractions that model the state and behaviour of real-world problems and physical systems
KS4 Computer Science / understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, decomposition, logic, algorithms, and data representation
KS4 Computer Science / take a systematic approach to problem solving including the use of decomposition and abstraction, and make use of conventions including pseudo code and flowcharts

Artificial Intelligence systems are based around algorithms. This is a list of steps which allow a task to be completed. By making a series of decisions an action can happen. Humans do this every day to decide what to do in situations thanks to the neural networks that have developed in our brains as we learn. Sometimes we must face complicated issues that involve us making a decision with numerous outcomes. We would then weigh in all the factors and choose the best possible outcome based on what solution we wish to achieve. An example of this below is a Superhero deciding what to do upon finding a school building that has suddenly exploded.

Decision trees like this can be used as a basis for writing an algorithm in an AI system so it can choose the best outcome in a situation.


You are going to be a superhero computer scientist who has developed an AI system in a human-like robot. To make your robot believable it needs to be able to recognise human emotions and mimic facial expressions. You are going to use the steps of Computational Thinking (see Activity sheet) to break down the task and solve the problem.

You have an Emotions Library sheet. Each face needs to be categorised based on the information that you are given in their library entry. Look at the faces to see what they all have in common, then abstract out the differences to create a list of instructions that anyone can use to re-create one of the faces in the library.

Test your algorithm by getting someone else (your “robot”) to draw the face and see if it draws the correct picture.

Try writing algorithms for the other faces or draw your own faces to write algorithms for. These could then be used to programme your “robot” to mimic human emotions!