PreparationTech Gives High School Students Lowdown on AI & Ethics

March 11, 2021

On March 11th, PreparationTech organized the 'AI Futures (for high school students) session during the Mozilla Foundation's online MozFest 2021. MozFest is the Foundation's annual event and a "premiere gathering for activists in diverse global movements fighting for a more humane digital world". This year's theme focused on trustworthy AI.

PreparationTech was happy to collaborate with the Mozilla Foundation to encourage high school students to learn more about AI (what it is, how it works and how it is being used to solve problems) and think about its ethical considerations.

AI Crash Course

AI and machine learning are difficult subjects for students to understand so we were super lucky to have Jen Selby start the session with a crash course in AI. Jen is a Machine Learning Engineer who was a computer science teacher previously. She was one of the first teachers in the U.S. to develop an AI curriculum for high school students. Jen talked about the difference between human intelligence and artificial intelligence and explained how data is used to train computers to learn, recognize and respond to feedback.

Case Studies

-- Soraya Hausl, Chief Data Scientist, Carra

Soraya is a data scientist who specializes in developing machine learning-driven, online recommender systems. She has worked on these systems for the travel and fashion industries and now works at Carra, an online platform which provides clients with personalized hair care advice. Soraya spoke about helping people with textured and curly hair by using algorithm predictions to generate recommendations. She spoke about the ethical considerations related to recommender systems and how companies like hers have integrated processes into their tech development to avoid issues such as bias, incomplete data, and privacy breaches.

Discover more about Soraya on PreparationTech.

-- David Hanson, Founder and CEO, Hanson Robotics

David Hanson is one of the world's leading inventors of human-like robots. The CEO of Hanson Robotics discussed how he uses AI to develop robots which give people the impression that they have social intelligence because they have facial expressions, specific speaking mannerisms, movement capabilities and the ability to hold interactive conversations with people. He talked about how his human-like robots have been deployed in areas including elder care, support for autistic people, clinical trials, university research and consumer services to help people. He spoke about the need for much more science and technology research to give robots multiple forms of intelligence. He said that his goal is not to make robots fully autonomous but to make them human-like enough to help us in ways that we choose.

Discover more about David on PreparationTech.

-- Jen Selby

Jen Selby is a Machine Learning Engineer at Blue River Technology, a tech company (and a subsidiary of John Deere) which develops smart farming machinery which makes farming more sustainable. It's claim to fame is its 'See & Spray' technology which combines computer vision (to identify weeds) with precision robotics (to spray them with herbicides). Jen talked about the importance of using extensive data sets and combining technology with the first-hand knowledge of farmers. She also discussed ethical considerations such as technology displacing farm workers, worker safety, and the impact on energy costs and emissions due to using technology.

Discover more about Jen on PreparationTech.