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Artificial intelligence was once something only seen in science fiction movies. Now, it’s something that’s being incorporated into public school curriculum. For the fall 2018 school year, the Montour School District, located near Pittsburgh, introduced an artificial intelligence program into their K-12 classrooms. The program gives students the chance to experience and explore AI, and discover ways it can be used to improve society.

Many experts believe that robots will be commonplace in daily life by 2025, which is also the year when today’s sixth graders will graduate from high school. In the past five years, the demand for artificial intelligence skills in the workplace has increased fivefold. As robots are incorporated into more aspects of life, this demand will continue to grow, meaning children need to be prepared to work with the technology. This program will give everyone at the middle school the opportunity to master the technology and learn where their interest in it lies.

The program is a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University, where artificial intelligence was invented and developed in the 1950s. Because the University still is at the forefront of developments involving the technology, it’s fitting that Pittsburgh houses the program.

Students involved in the program will learn a variety of skills related to the technology, such as data literacy, STEM inquiry skills and autonomous robotics. Students will also engage in discussions centered around the ethics of AI and moonshot thinking. The majority of the curriculum will be integrated into the already-existing middle school course offerings, mainly in the STEM program.

AI will be incorporated into music education courses at the school through the use of Amper Music. Amper Music is an AI composer, producer and performer that gives users the opportunity to create and customize music for any project.

Students will be given smart assistants, so they’re able to understand the current capabilities of the technology. They’ll also learn how to code and interact with AI devices through the use of Cozmo, an AI-powered robot.

The school will also become the host of the World Artificial Intelligence Regional Competition for Youth. In the competition, participants use autonomous robots to play out scenarios where using AI could change people’s lives.

The program works to prepare students to work in the technology field, but also to live in a world where artificial intelligence will soon play a much larger part.