What is artificial intelligence? That is a question that high school students from Greenville, South Carolina wanted to find out the answer to. Inspired by a prompt provided by PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs, they began their research. They read books and conducted video interviews with their classmates on the common misconceptions about artificial intelligence. It seemed as though people were worried that artificial intelligence systems could get so advanced that they would be just as intelligent, if not more intelligent, than humans. The Student Reporting Labs students wondered, is that possible?
With a desire to learn more about artificial intelligence systems, these students from Legacy Charter High School sought to interview a professional about the matter. With the help of PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs' Coordinating Producer, they were put in contact with with Dr. Ashley Llorens, the Chief of Artificial Intelligence Systems at John Hopkins University. This week, the Legacy Charter students sat around a large monitor that allowed them to see and speak with Dr. Ashley Llorens. He used popular movie examples, like Big Hero Six and Age of Ultron to relate to the students and explain to them the positive and negative effects of artificial intelligence. The students asked him questions about science, and the myths and fears associated with artificial intelligence. One student was surprised to learn that artificial intelligence “is anything from Google home to Siri, to the programmable thermostat and robotic prosthetics.”
The PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs program connects middle and high school students to local PBS stations and news professionals in their community to produce original, student-generated video reports. PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs are located all around the country, with four located in the Carolinas.