AI: Assessing the Risks and Rewards

​AI is currently in use or under development in every field imaginable. Students will research an AI application and then make a case for its potential benefits, pitfalls, and effect on society.



Per Group:

  • AI Applications Handout (Note: this may become outdated over time and may require you to create your own updated version.)
  • Writing materials
  • Internet access for further research


It seems as though artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere, doing everything. But how do we know whether the purpose is beneficial or potentially harmful? How do we weigh the good against the risks? This activity asks students to research an AI application and think critically about who is using it, to what end, and how its use might go well or go wrong.

Student Challenge

Students research an AI application and make a case for its benefits, potential pitfalls, and conceivable future consequences, both good and bad.

Success Criteria

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the uses of the AI application.
  • Analyze and describe the benefits, potential drawbacks, and any other issues (economic or cultural) that are affected by this AI application.
  • Make a persuasive case for using the AI application as is, not using it, or using it with alterations or limits.



  1. Assign each student an AI application. See the examples in the AI Applications Handout.
  2. Optional: Ask students to read their assigned AI application and share their initial thoughts on whether it should be used as is, with modifications, or prohibited.
  3. Tell students they will be researching their AI application and doing a short (we recommend two to three minutes) persuasive presentation.
  4. Use the success criteria above (or develop your own) to assess the student presentations.
  5. Predetermine if the students will work in teams and if they need an accompanying paper or PowerPoint presentation.
  6. After the presentations are done, hold a class discussion. As needed, direct the conversation with these questions:
    • What points were confusing about a particular AI topic?
    • Who found that their opinion on a particular use changed because of what they learned?
    • Who wants to describe a benefit or pitfall that wasn’t mentioned for a particular use of AI?
    • What would you improve about your presentation if you gave it again?








This activity was developed through the support of the Northrop Grumman Foundation.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *