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AI and Human Behavior

How artificial intelligent systems shape the people around them (and what to do about it)?

AI is rapidly entering into many areas of our world. While it’s important to understand how the technology works, a lesser-discussed area of impact is how these systems influence and shape human behavior. As we increasingly integrate AI into homes, workplaces, and public spaces, it’s important to understand how people interact with automated systems, and how these systems influence workers, end-users, and other people around them. From questions of trust, to role delegation, to the strange world of treating autonomous machines like they’re alive, the behavioral effects can be fascinating, and even counter-intuitive.


This course addresses how artificial intelligent systems shape the people around them (and what to do about it). Drawing on recent research in the field of human-computer interaction, this course seeks to make visible some of the important human behaviors influenced by AI technology, and it provides a basic guide to addressing issues through the design, circumstances, or education around AI deployment.

Target Audience

TThis course is appropriate for everyone–from computer scientist to journalist to concerned citizen.


This course is appropriate for individuals at any company—from global corporations to small start-ups—that develops AI system capabilities or is a user/buyer of AI systems. Participants are welcome from a wide range of industries including energy, consumer AI products and services, aerospace, transportation, robotics systems, finance, national security, and health. Participants interested in the implications of deploying AI systems and thier abiilty to shape and influence human behavior, and the associated ethics, are especially encouraged to participate.


Kate Darling, Cynthia Breazeal


2 Days



Course Details
Topics covered:


Led by MIT research specialist Dr. Kate Darling, this course examines the weird world of human behavior around autonomous systems, and explores ways that organizations can lean into the hidden positive effects of AI technology. Over the course of two days, participants will:

 Learn about how AI is being used in practice, including the current strengths and limitations of the technology
 Explore some of the issues and challenges in designing and integrating AI systems
 Learn about the newest research in the interdisciplinary field of human-computer interaction, which studies people’s behavior around AI and robots
 Explore ways to intentionally lean into, counteract, shift, or influence behavioral effects
 Discuss the most pressing ethical issues around influencing human behavior, and how to use AI for good
 Interact with robots in a hands-on workshop

Learning objectives:


The participants of this course will be able to:

 Understand the basic strengths and limitations of AI technology
 Evaluate key aspects of the design and integration of AI systems on how they effect human behavior
 Learn about cutting-edge research in human-computer interaction and how it applies to the deployment of AI
 Discuss important ethical questions in AI around human behavior

Program outline:

Day 1
 Session 1: Introduction and overview
 Session 2: Let’s get technical (basics)
 Session 3: What are the challenges in integrating AI?
 Session 4: Breakout session
 Session 5: Hands-on robot workshop

Day 2
 Session 6: The weird world of HCI
 Session 7: Practical interventions
 Session 8: Ethics and AI for good
 Session 9: Breakout session
 Session 10: Wrap up


There are no pre-requisites to this course. This is an introductory course. No prior programming experience is necessary.

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