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Lesson Plan/Activity

What Makes Us Human

September 13, 2023

Who this is for:

Ethicists and Social Scientists
Science Communicators


In this activity, participants will play a game to sort abilities from most to least uniquely human, before assigning them to robots responsible for specific jobs. They will then decide how their newly designed robot reacts to a novel situation and discuss the consequences. There are no right or wrong answers in the game—instead participants are encouraged to reflect and share their own values on what makes us human and the future of AI, robots, and related technologies.


  1. What does it mean to be human? What is unique about the human brain?
  2. How humanlike could machines become? What might be the risks and benefits?

Learning Goals

  1. People’s values determine which technologies are developed and used.
  2. New technologies change society, sometimes in unexpected ways.
  3. Scientists, engineers, and designers use their creativity to invent things and imagine the future, just like you do.
  4. Brain research benefits from many perspectives, including yours.

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