Edmonds College event focuses on AI literacy for all

About 30 people attended AI for Everyone at Edmonds College.

Edmonds College’s STEM department hosted its second annual AI for Everyone public event Friday at Hazel Miller Hall. Several instructors presented on topics that included creating prompts for AI (artificial intelligence), understanding human–robot relationships and deep fakes, and showcasing AI’s ability to make people laugh.

There were also computer stations where attendees could try out different AI programs, such as SciSpace, ChatGPT and a drawing game.

Dean of STEM Dr. Carey Schroyer discussed how AI is affecting many people’s lives.

“I think basic AI literacy is something everyone needs to know, and I think we have a moral responsibility to make AI [available} for everyone,” said Edmonds College Dean of STEM Dr. Carey Schroyer. “AI has a potential for great good, and it also has a potential for harm. We want people to be aware of both possibilities. The only way is AI literacy and help[ing] them understand and be aware of it.”

AI for Everyone started last year after Edmonds College’s STEM department announced it was launching its AI Incubator Lab in fall 2023. However, that launch was delayed until the fall of 2024.

Frank Kadwell, department head of the college’s Information Technology Application Development Program, talked about deep fakes in visual and audio media. He presented two images of U.S. President Joe Biden: the image on the left showed Biden standing and talking to the press; the image on the right showed Biden sitting at a table, wearing a green military uniform and talking to soldiers. Kadwell said that the right image was created by AI using Midjourney, a generative AI tool that generates images from text descriptions, or prompts.

Frank Kadwell asks which image of U.S. President Joe Biden is a deep fake.

Kadwell also pointed out that images of Biden and former President Donald Trump were blocked on Midjourney last March to prevent users from creating deep fakes of either politician during the U.S. presidential election year.

“You are going to be inundated with deep fakes throughout the election year on your social media, and deep fakes are used to spread propaganda,” Kadwell said.

Another deep fake that he mentioned is a robocall that impersonated President Biden’s voice, which discouraged thousands of voters from participating in the New Hampshire Democratic primary.

A computer station for attendees to try out Microsoft Copilot, an AI tool that is integrated into Microsoft products, such as Word and Excel.

“Everything [in AI] is deregulated. It’s the wild, wild west,” Kadwell said.

Students from all backgrounds are encouraged to participate in Edmonds College’s AI and related programs once the AI incubator lab is completed. There is no prior tech or coding knowledge needed, only foundational math skills.

— Story and photos by Nick Ng

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