Time needed: 20 minutes
Robots have programs that act like their brain and tell them what to do. These algorithms are coded into the robot's program by a computer engineer. Artificial intelligence, or AI, refers to robots or other machines that are programmed by engineers to learn and adapt.
In this activity, you’ll go on a scavenger hunt to find out what makes something intelligent! Make yourself comfortable outside or indoors where you have lots of things to explore.
What can robots do that you can do? What can you do that robots can't?
A lot of the time when we think of robots we think of shiny metal figures that kind of look like mechanical humans. They have heads, bodies, arms, and legs, just like us. Along with looking like us, sometimes robots act like us too. This is called biomimicry.
Biomimicry is when engineers or other creators make machines that are modelled on humans and other parts of nature, like animals or plants. Biomimicry means that engineers can make robots that not only look like us, but act like us!
Now, why would an engineer want a robot to be like us? Why could that be helpful? Emotional robots are easier for humans to relate to and understand. If the robots know how to understand what we're feeling, they can respond in a way that is the most helpful.
So, do you think you could tell the difference between a robot and a human? Who do you think is smarter? Let’s see what you can find out!
Create three lists: "Definitely intelligent," "Definitely not intelligent," and "Might be intelligent."
Then, go around outdoors or inside to find items or animals to add to each list. If you can’t find enough things from where you are, that’s okay! Just brainstorm and list any items or animals you can think of.
Here are some examples to get you started:
Try to find five or more items for each list.
Once you’ve created your lists, look through them once more. How did you do? Were you able to find items for each category? How did you decide if each item is or isn’t intelligent?
Then, use all you’ve learned to answer these questions:
Can a robot be intelligent?
Robots and machines have rules or instructions that are outlined by their programs. However, these programs can grow and become "smarter" over time, learning information about the user or environment. Artificial intelligence, or AI, refers to robots or other machines that are programmed by engineers to learn and adapt.
All these robots are examples of artificial intelligence. Would you like to see a robot with AI in action? What sort of AI robot would you design if you had the chance?
And that’s it! You’ve now completed a step of the Junior Designing Robots badge! If you had fun doing this, you might want to learn more about robots and design your own with the rest of the Junior Robotics badges.
Troop Leaders: The instructions for all badge steps are available free of charge in the Girl Scout Volunteer Toolkit.
Girl Scout Activity Zone activities have been adapted from existing Girl Scout programming.