We are the robots

Note : All Viralelt posts share the same structure. Teacher’s notes appear only on How to use Viralelt. This is done to keep “teacher text” to a minimum and avoid repetition.


Thumbnail collage

Tell your students they are going to watch a video which contains nine short clips related to the topic of robotics and artificial intelligence. As they watch, ask them to match the following titles (a – i) to the appropriate clips.

a) Robot toddler taking its first steps.
b) Spare parts for humans.
c) “I’ve never posed for a machine before.”
d) “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
e) “I should have unplugged it earlier. Too late now!”
f) “It’s no use hiding, they’ll find you.”
g) “Not a bad imitation, but you can still tell the difference.”
h) “I’ve programmed it to fetch sticks too.”
i) Robots don’t get bored doing routine tasks.

Note : After watching the video, project the thumbnail collage (see above) onto a screen to help students recall the different clips while checking and/or comparing their answers. The video clip titles are also available on the Question Time worksheet, which you can download and edit as you wish.

Answers : 1) h | 2) g | 3) f  | 4) i  | 5) b  | 6) c  | 7) a  | 8) d  | 9) e


  1. How do you react to the video you’ve just seen? Was there anything that surprised you?
  2. What benefits do robots and other automated technologies bring to human society?
  3. What can robots do better than humans? What about things robots can’t do as well as humans? Do you think this might change in the future?
  4. Some futurologists think that we will incorporate more and more artificial components into our bodies. What do you think? Which parts of our bodies will be artificial in the future?
  5. Do you think it is ethical to use technology not only to replace missing or damaged body parts, but also to enhance the performance of existing body parts? Should there be a limit to how artificial humans can become?
  6. Some scientists such as Stephen Hawking have suggested that artificially intelligent machines could pose a serious threat to humanity in the not too distant future. Do you think they are right to be worried?
  7. Do you think the military’s increasing use of drones and other unmanned weapons systems is a good thing or a bad thing?
  8. How would you feel about having a brain implant which enabled you to both understand and speak English perfectly? Do you think this will become possible in the future?
  9. What effect will automated technologies have on work and employment in the future? What kind of jobs will be replaced by robots? Are there any jobs which will never be done by robots?
  10. As robotics becomes more advanced do you think we will reach a point when it is difficult to distinguish a robot from a human? Do you think it is possible for humans to establish emotional relationships with robots?


Which two of the above questions are being discussed?

Download “Question time” and the “Sitting comfortably?” script in an editable Word document here.




Click to see example

A : Text-to-speech “robot apocalypse”

Ask your students to create a Voki speaking avatar of a robot announcing an imminent “robot uprising” which will spell the end of humanity as the dominant form of intelligence on Earth. 

The example on the left was created by going to http://www.voki.com and selecting the following options:

Customize your characterChoose your character > Randoms > “Switch” (the name of the robot avatar)
Give it a voiceText to speech > Voice “Dave (US)” > FX “Reverb”.

B : Video of Kraftwerk’s 1979 single “The Robots”

Although of little pedagogical value to students, if you’re a teacher in your 40s or 50s, you might like to give it a spin in the background, or while your students are filing into class.

Thanks for dropping by! | Viralelt by Tefltecher


2 thoughts on “We are the robots

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s