Creative AI: A curriculum around creativity, generative AI, and ethics



Safinah Ali 

As the presence of artificial intelligence expands significantly in children’s lives of learning and play, it is critical that students learn to be conscientious consumers of AI from an early age. Though the need for democratizing AI education is starting to be recognized, there are no current efforts to educate school-age children on the workings and implications of generative adversarial networks (GANs), despite their potential widespread use and misuse in media

The goal of this curriculum is to teach middle school children about generative machine learning techniques and how students can partner with machines in creative expression such as art, music, poems and more. We will explore tools and techniques such as neural networks and GANs across various forms of media, such as text, images, music, and videos. We frame this curriculum as an exploration of creativity, such that children’s creative and imaginative capabilities can be enhanced by innovative technologies. Further, we aim to foster discussions throughout the workshop to highlight important ethical issues around generative AI, such as creative IP and generation of hyperrealist fake media. This course is meant to be hands-on and encourages the explorative creation of art with and without AI tools. 

Throughout this course, students will have discussions around open-ended questions such as:

  • What is art? Who is the creator?
  • What is AI? What is not AI? 
  • Who owns the art co-created with a machine?
  • How does generative AI work? How can I use generative AI to create media?

These questions will allow them to reflect on how machine art differs from human created art, as well as the role that machines play in technology-guided creation. 

The curriculum will be taught with a series of plugged and unplugged activities, through which students will learn about generators and discriminators, examine the impact of algorithmic bias, and explore AI-driven artistic methods such as style transfer. They will also be co-creating with pre-trained GANs, gaining valuable experience in tweaking and evaluating an intelligent system. The workshop culminates in students creating their own GAN to create something personally meaningful for them. Students will organically understand the relevance and importance of this curriculum through applications of GANs that may touch their everyday lives, including interactive collaboration tools or deep fakes. By engaging with AI in different creative contexts and exercising computational action through GAN projects, students will be able to think critically about the media they create in the age of artificial intelligence.