On 12th December the Data Education in Schools team streamed the recording of the first of three Royal Institution Christmas lectures with Professor Mike Wooldridge (University of Oxford). ‘The Truth Behind AI’, focused on the rapidly evolving field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) exploring some of the big questions facing AI research and challenging myths about how AI really works.

With support from the Data Skills Gateway, learners across the Edinburgh and South East of Scotland city region were invited to join us (with parents/guardians or teachers) at the Nucleus building, the wonderful new Learning and Teaching hub in the College of Science and Engineering here at the University of Edinburgh.  Approximately 90 attendees joined us to watch the filming of the lecture as it took place in London and share a bit of festive cheer on a very wet and miserable December evening.

In the first lecture, Mike demonstrated differences between how a machine learns and how a human learns, explaining how neural networks have accelerated the growth of AI. In between watching the filming of the lecture, our Edinburgh attendees participated in some festive themed data activities led by members of the Data Education in Schools team.

Running for almost 200 years, the Christmas lectures were started by Michael Faraday to inspire and engage young people with science. We’re thrilled to have been able to support the Royal Institution Christmas lecture recording by streaming the event at The University of Edinburgh and grateful to all those who came to find out ‘The Truth behind AI’. Special thanks to the many Perth High School attendees for the enormous effort they made to attend.

All three Christmas lectures are currently available on watch on BBC iPlayer.

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