Every year the city of Renton hosts the Renton City Comic Con. The event has numerous panels and showings of comic characters impersonators. However, this event is not only about super-heroes, fictional characters, and cosplay. This past September, Dr. Michelle Zimmerman, Renton Prep’s TEALS Computer Science students, and their teacher attended Renton City Comic Con 2018 and held a panel on Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Renton Prep students’ presentation, called AI: Is it Real or Hype?, addressed our perception of AI and what has influenced that idea. Also, they discussed the different views of AI through an educational lens. It is important to note that AI is more than the image we have of it. For example, there are components of AI, such as computer vision, in Microsoft Power Point, a tool we use regularly. There are also other topics in the realm of AI. Two of our students, Nathanael and James, focused on Marvel and DC comics and how AI is depicted. With machines replacing humans, they delved into the balance between logic and emotion. They also discussed the conflict between completing a mission and saving humanity and the conflict when humans get in the way or are the cause of destruction.
Duy, another Renton Prep student, presented on the movie Ready Player One. In this science-fiction adventure movie, players use Avatars to play games and escape reality. Duy examined the psychology of anonymity when humans use Avatars. This raises the question of whether people choose different identities to change their perspective or because they are unhappy with their life.
“Technology has powerful implications for society, and if we fail to engage in the challenging discussions now, we are losing the opportunity to better equip a future generation of young people who will be our leaders, policy makers, enforcers, creators, collaborators, communicators, and knowing how to use their “superpowers” to assist in a fight for making their communities, societies, and world a place they are proud to call home.”
Dr. Michelle Zimmerman
Our student Afomeya discussed the importance of knowing one’s family history, culture, identity, and global perspective. By understanding these values, there is more awareness and less bias. She also discussed the value of delving into fields that include ethnographic study. The role that AI plays in this topic is that technology can be used to decrease social issues that are prevalent. Another example of discussing social issues and technology is Sharice’s discussion on civic engagement. She emphasized the importance of knowing our freedoms and what it takes to maintain freedoms and equity.
Renton Prep student Rhonwyn spoke about advanced AI technologies that exist in space. Her goal is to work in Astrophysics and Space Science, so she investigated the successes and limitations of AI in space exploration and missions. All of this was supported by Education Specialist for NASA, Steven C. Smith. He presented some of the latest projects from NASA: citizen science, and the range of careers needed to make NASA a success.
The Renton City Comic Con was a valuable event from which our students learned. This is an example of how learning is not limited to the classroom. And at Renton Prep we encourage our students to participate in events that are conducive to learning. Contact us today and learn about our school and how your child can begin an educational journey that will last a lifetime.