Artificial intelligence: what does learning mean?


Institutional Communication Service

25 March 2024

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming the way we live and work. Therefore, it is essential that we engage in a discussion about the values that arise from its application. Currently, 41 students from Ambrì and Breganzona middle schools are participating in the Science and You(th) project, proposed by the Science et Cité foundation and organised in Ticino by L'ideatorio dell'Università della Svizzera italiana (USI). The project's objective is to introduce young people to the world of AI, encouraging them to reflect on the true meaning of "intelligence" and what distinguishes humans from machines. This project aims to explore how we can ethically and sustainably integrate AI into our lives.

On 9 April, 41 middle school students from Ambrì and Breganzona will take part in debates and interactive activities to reflect together on artificial intelligence at USI's House of Sustainability in Airolo. The meeting is part of the Science and You(th) project by Science et Cité, implemented in Ticino by USI's Ideatorio. During this meeting, the students will meet some professors and lecturers from Università della Svizzera italiana to jointly reflect on the risks and opportunities offered by today's artificial intelligence systems. The day will be attended by Monica Landoni, professor and researcher at USI Faculty of Informatics, Andrea Rizzoli, director of the Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence Studies (IDSIA) and professor at SUPSI, and Paolo Rossetti, information systems engineer and professor at USI's Faculty of Informatics.

The debate will occur following a workshop proposed by USI L'ideatorio, where the young participants will learn about the world of intelligence by using algorithms to create texts and images. They also will have the privilege of visiting the Swiss Centre for Scientific Computing (CSCS), which is home to ALPS, which will soon be one of the world's most powerful supercomputers equipped with artificial intelligence capabilities.

These meetings are part of the national "Science and You(th)" project developed by Science et Cité, a Swiss Academy of Sciences competence centre supported by the MINT Suisse programme. The project aims to provide an opportunity for secondary school students to discuss the relationship between science and society, along with personalities from the world of science. These meetings mainly focus on the distinction between artificial and human intelligence and the role we would like to assign to intelligent machines in the future. The debates are aimed at understanding the real potential of artificial intelligence while at the same time listening to the many questions of young people, who find themselves living and studying among artificial intelligence systems that often prove to be more efficient than humans in performing specific tasks.

Determining which tasks should be assigned to artificial intelligence and which should remain under human control is important. This is to ensure that we are not solely reliant on machines and can instead find ways to utilise this technology to create a better, fairer, more just, and sustainable future for everyone.

In Ticino, the Science and You(th) project is organised by L'ideatorio - the regional antenna of Science et Cité - and also runs in parallel in the canton of Berne and in French-speaking Switzerland. This year, in Ticino, the project is taking place in cooperation with the middle schools of Ambrì and Breganzona.


Further information can be found on L'ideatorio USI's website: