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Castilleja School teaches artificial intelligence

Uploaded: Fri, Jan 18, 2019, 6:56 am by Elena Kadvany

/ Palo Alto Weekly

Carissa Carter, director of teaching + learning at the Stanford, leads a workshop at Castilleja centered on design thinking and machine learning applications during Global Week at the school on Jan. 7, 2019.

This year, the school chose artificial intelligence, coinciding with the debut of Castilleja's first-ever course on the subject — a rarity in K-12 education, even in 2019 — and preparations to adopt a computer-science graduation requirement next year.

The school's overarching goal, administrators and educators said, is not to solely teach coding or provide a pipeline to tech careers but rather to help them understand a powerful force that is already and will continue to impact their lives regardless of what they pursue after Castilleja.

They studied key artificial-intelligence concepts, like machine learning, neural networks and deep learning, and examined the role that AI plays in the very technologies they consume — the filtering of data on Facebook and Instagram and predictive analytics on Netflix, for example.

The teams selected specific personality traits and place of residence for their person — such as a quiet and introspective person from the United Kingdom — and then decided if the person was either interviewing for a job at Stanford Shopping Center or here to visit Great America with a group of friends.

(One group of students chose regression, a set of statistical processes for estimating the relationships among variables, to predict the weather for the day their consumer would be visiting.) At the end, the students considered the worst and best case scenarios by writing alternatively 'fantastic' and 'terrible' news headlines.

Other activities throughout the week included visiting interactive art pieces that use machine learning, hearing from Castilleja alumnae who now study or work in the field and learning about the ethical implications for governments, companies and the public.

Administrators had considered artificial intelligence as a Global Week theme for years but didn't feel prepared to offer it until this year, with Barriger's new course and the upcoming computer-science requirement, said Stacey Kertsman, Castilleja's dean of equity education and social impact and director of the Center for Awareness, Compassion and Engagement.

They brought in three artists to create the interactive art exhibit on campus, which included a facial analysis tool that predicts your age, gender and emotions in real time when you sit in front of it, and a 'Lost in Google Translation' piece that translates any English phrase into Thai and then back to English to reveal 'shortcomings in both humans' and machine's capabilities,' the exhibit description reads.

11 Artificial Intelligence Movies You’ll Definitely Love To Watch

From the classic big assembly machinery to supercomputers with incredible operating systems all the way down to human-like robots, developments of this century have changed our lives in an unmeasurable way and, judging by the rate of these developments, it’s safe to say we’ve only seen the beginning.

Therefore, taking some time to dive into philosophical and moral implications of AI, like in Leigh Whannell’s 2018 science fiction horror film Upgrade, and to truly think about what this constant impact between humanity and technology means, is the primary trait of any self-respecting developer… thankfully most Artificial Intelligence movies are thought-provoking.

And, as we are obsessed with movies set in the future, especially the ones where technology is the lead lady, we’ve decided to create the ultimate list of AI films spanned through the decades that reflect the everchanging spectrum of our emotions regarding the machines we have created:

Mainly because this is the first serious Sci-Fi film, giving us not only very advanced machinery to look at (which by the way changed our collective vision of what the future looked like), but also a biting social commentary of the implications of human interaction with machines, inspiring and molding our attitude towards many later real and imaginary AI creations to come.

Fast forward to 1968, when HAL 9000, the epitome of the 'evil computer', decides to kill two astronauts because he is unable to reconcile the order to conceal the true nature of its mission with its self-described incapacity to fail: “No ‘9000’ computer has ever made a mistake or distorted information”.

Funnily enough, his fails, the unwillingness to explain his actions, meaningless reassurances, fondness for gentle taunting and total meltdown into incoherence are what gave him a strange sort of human-like feeling.

The film's replicants are bioengineered so perfectly they’re almost psychologically identical to humans (something rather strictly vague in most serious AI films) and, even more, through false memories that can be implanted as 'emotional cushions' they may even believe they’re human.

The film never explains where that (almost) hatred comes from but, even when the machine takes on a human form, the differences between him and humans are quite clear, and not just because of its constant disregard at the idea of maintaining a single unalterable form.

Ultimately, Agent Smith’s existence as a sentient software is a good moment to remind everyone that AI isn’t always just hardware… as well as a reminder that humans becoming dangerously dependent on Artificial Systems for it all is never a really sound idea.

On the other hand, much like Skynet, VIKI is a rebellious and quite dangerous supercomputer, the difference is VIKI’s logic didn’t turn her against us to protect itself, but because it prioritized society's interests over the individuals, this robot honestly believes it can only serve humanity by ruling it.

There he finds a space-cruise filled with incredibly unhealthy humans and through sheer force of will (something usually reserved for humans), and the discovery of a small plant, takes the feeble population of the cruise back to Earth.

The film frames AI in an optimistic utopian border, but it still reminds us that technology has the capacity of running amok when unchecked or when created under dubious ethical circumstances, as the film leaves clear that a lot of lonely people are falling in love and creating friendships with seemingly sentient operating systems that leave them completely heartbroken when they leave.

The portrayal of how the AI is created is completely wrong: the idea it can be created by a lone genius in a high-tech lab is completely ridiculous (AI is created by entire teams slowly working for years).

At the end of it all, the idea that computer system can somehow become self-aware and decide that we should be completely destroyed or ruled over, as we cannot take care of ourselves it’s a common trope, but in real life all the AI attacks we have suffered have been for very no threatening stuff.

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