Module 1: What is a robot?

This is the introductory module for the course on robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). It will help set the foundation of concepts and definitions that will be drawn upon throughout the rest of the course. The remaining modules will go through the many applications of robots, including their pros and cons, and risks and opportunities. In this module, students will look at feedback theory and many other concepts such as machine learning, deep learning and neural networks that define artificial intelligence. They will also look at the difference between an AI system and other machines. Finally, students will review the history of robot development and talk about Three Laws of Robotics and the Turing Test.

Module 2: Robots in Factories

If robots can lift 100 times their weight and work without getting bored or tired, do humans stand a chance? This module begins by outlining one of the earliest and most apparent applications of robotic technology: use in manufacturing and factories. Students will evaluate both the past and potential future impact of these types of robots on the economy and jobs in this vital sector. Students will examine historical reactions to changes in technology and discuss how society will cope with the continuous change in robotics and artificial intelligence. Finally, the module will introduce students to the vast array of career opportunities and pathways in manufacturing robotics.

Module 3: Robots in Healthcare

Did you know that in 2015, over 140,000 surgeries in the US were performed by a robot? This is just one of the many applications in which robots will be utilized in the healthcare industry in the coming years. This module introduces students to some of these applications, such as elderly care robots, micro-sized robots put in our bodies, and the use of artificial intelligence in diagnosing diseases. Students will discuss the implications of robots in the healthcare sector, including their pros and cons, and impact on society.

Module 4: Robots on the Farm

With over 7.3 billion people to feed on the earth, robotics in farming could have a huge impact. This module will evaluate the many use cases of robots and artificial intelligence in farming, including automated milking systems, harvest automation, and precision application of fertilizer. Prior technologies, such as plows, tractors, and pesticides, have had a tremendous impact farming jobs in the past, and this module will examine the impact robots will have in continuing this trend.

Module 5: Robots at Home

In 1962, the world was introduced to a cartoon robot, XB-500, otherwise known as Rosie the Robot. This humanoid robot was the maid to the Jetson family and is just one example of the ways people have dreamed up using robots in the home. While we may not have a Rosie yet, there are already robots in many homes that can vacuum. Other applications include thermostats that learn about our habits and use artificial intelligence to adjust to our preferences. There are also personal assistant devices, such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Voice that are making their way into homes. These are a few of the many applications that students will evaluate in this module. Students will also discuss ethical, security and privacy implications of having robots intertwined more and more with our lives.

Module 6: Robots that Play Games

In the game of Chess, there are 288 billion possible game positions after each player moves only 4 pieces! How is it possible for a computer program to perform so many calculations and beat the best human chess players in the world? The answer is artificial intelligence, deep learning, and neural networks. Developers have used game-playing robots to showcase performance of artificial intelligence and how it could be applied to other real-world problems. In addition to artificial intelligence, this module will also review the use of actual humanoid robots playing sports. Students will be introduced to careers and opportunities in gaming robotics and discuss the many contributions of scientists and developers along the way.

Please reload

Course Description:
It seems like many elementary to high school robotics courses are focused on coding a simple robot to move its mechanical arm up and down. This course, in contrast, teaches students what a robot is and how it relates to other key technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. Then the course examines 10 applications of robots and how they will change and impact various aspects of our lives and the economy. Will robots simply steal our jobs, or will they be a tool that will create new opportunities and even free humans to use our creativity and curiosity to their full potential? Students will grapple with this and many other questions as they explore this vital, future-focused subject.

Module 7: Robots that Drive

Who wants a self-driving car that can take them wherever they want, whenever they want? Now that self-driving cars have become a reality, how does this technology work? In this module, students will learn how algorithms and robotic systems allow self-driving cars to operate. A contrast will be defined between the benefits and limitations of utilizing robots and artificial intelligence in transportation. Finally, students will be able to review the educational paths and identify career opportunities with self-driving cars.

Module 8: Robots at School

In this module, students will review various use cases of robotics being used in education delivery, such as assisting children with disabilities or encouraging technical creativity. A comparison will be made between the benefits and limitations of using robots and artificial intelligence in education. By the end of this module, students will be able to identify career opportunities in educational robotics and a pathway to enter this type career.

Module 9: Robots with Global Impact

Robots are increasingly being developed and used in warfare. Robots are also being used in space exploration. The first topic is more controversial than the second but ethical issues also exist in space.

This module provides a sensitive, but balanced and realistic look at the controversial topics of robots in battle and in space. Students will discuss ethical implications of utilizing robots and artificial intelligence in combat and for the purpose of mining or claiming other planets. They’ll also think about the growing debris field around the Earth that threatens people both on and off the planet. The module will introduce students to the important debates we will have in society in the coming years as robots become more sophisticated and the nature of warfare and space exploration change.

Module 10: Singularity

What is singularity? This final module will tie together all the applications and end-markets that have been reviewed in this course and look toward the future. Students will examine and discuss questions like: Will robots ever become self-aware? What happens if robots become a serious threat to humanity? Can someone upload their brain into a computer? Though many of these questions paint a bleak and dystopian picture, the course will end on a positive note by helping students understand the contributions they can make to the technology, policies, and societal debates on the future of robots.

Please reload