Conference Papers  |  ,   |  May 23, 2021

Imagine a More Ethical AI: Using Stories to Develop Teens’ Awareness and Understanding of Artificial Intelligence and its Societal Impacts

Conference paper by Stacey Forsyth, Bridget Dalton, Ellie Haberl, Benjamin Walsh, Jacqueline Smilack and Tom Yeh. Presented at the 2021 Research in Equity and Sustained Participation in Engineering, Computing, and Technology (RESPECT).


Artificial intelligence (AI) tools and technologies are increasingly prevalent in society. Many teens interact with AI devices on a daily basis but often have a limited understanding of how AI works, as well as how it impacts society more broadly. It is critical to develop youths’ understanding of AI, cultivate ethical awareness, and support diverse youth in pursuing computer science to help ensure future development of more equitable AI technologies. Here, we share our experiences developing and remotely facilitating an interdisciplinary AI ethics program for secondary students designed to increase teens’ awareness and understanding of AI and its societal impacts. Students discussed stories with embedded ethical dilemmas, engaged with AI media and simulations, and created digital products to express their stance on an AI ethics issue. Across four iterations in formal and informal settings, we found students to be engaged in AI stories and invested in learning about AI and its societal impacts. Short stories were effective in raising awareness, focusing discussion and supporting students in developing a more nuanced understanding of AI ethics issues, such as fairness, bias and privacy