Curriculum  |    |  January 24, 2020

Lesson – Ethics in AI: Don’t Let DANN Turn Evil!

Curriculum developed by Actua. Grades 9-12. Time to complete is 60 minutes.

Activity Summary

If you’re accessing this activity directly, did you know there are nine other activities in this series up on our website? Check out our AI page to see a breakdown of the activities and our recommended order to complete them in! Also, these activities introduce AI concepts and terminology. If you find yourself unfamiliar with any of the words in this activity, the landing page also has a glossary of AI terms. Happy space-station-fixing!

You and your group-mates are astronauts and scientists aboard the Actua Orbital Station. Unfortunately, your station just got bombarded by magnetic rays and your electronics have begun to shut down! The only one who can save you is the orbital station’s AI, DANN. DANN stands for Dedicated Actua Neural Network, and it’s gone a little loopy. Brush up on your technical skills, learn about AI, and save yourself and your crewmates! So far, we have read through DANN’s manual, rebooted its audio and visual cores, and gotten all of DANN’s core functions fixed. Most of DANN’s physical sensors and other functions are back online, like the audio core we fixed in “Voice Activated AI: Training Audio Recognition Models”. But DANN’s ethics system has been completely wiped! We have to make sure DANN understands the difference between right and wrong, and doesn’t use your data in evil ways. Could you imagine an evil AI? That would be a disaster! Once we can be confident DANN won’t turn evil, we can look at fixing its ability to understand us, in “Language Processing: Space Station Communications”.

In this activity, participants will learn about morals and ethics, how they apply to the world, and how they apply to artificial intelligence. They will explore data bias, and learn how it can affect AI programs in significant ways. Participants will then use this knowledge to develop their own code of ethics for an artificial intelligence program.


  • Google Slides Presentation
  • Interactive
  • One Pen/Pencil per participant
  • Post Its

Learning Outcomes

  • Toolsets
    • Learn how to make a code of ethics
    • Learn to develop linguistic, grammar and syntax skills
  • Skillsets
    • Problem solving
    • Future thinking
    • Understanding of alternate perspectives
  • Mindsets
    • Appreciating/engaging in alternate perspectives
    • Opportunity to explore an unprecedented area of technological innovation
    • Opportunity to think about issues that are going to be very important in the near future