41 Artificial Intelligence Discussion Questions: Personal, Legal and Ethical

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most exciting topics of our time. Intelligent, adaptive machines and robots can support us humans, make life easier and solve complicated problems.

On the other hand, AI scares many people. Every technology also harbors risks, and it is not yet possible to foresee how our world will change once artificial intelligences are “really intelligent.”

The topic therefore offers plenty of material for discussion: for a school or study project, or for a controversial conversation lesson for language students.

In this article, we listed 41 interesting, personal, legal and ethical questions about artificial intelligence, to foster debates.

Artificial intelligence: ESL questions, conversation starters

Personal questions about artificial intelligence, for discussion

This set of questions will help to start conversations about the various personal perspectives on AI.

What are the risks of artificial intelligence?

What are the opportunities of artificial intelligence?

Can AI be more intelligent than humans?

What excites you about AI?

Can robots one day replace humans? In what areas?

What jobs would you rather have robots do instead of humans?

In what tasks will humans always be better than robots?

Could you imagine being friends with a human-looking robot?

How might AI solve humanity’s problems?

Should we be afraid of an AI taking power over us one day?

Can an AI be truly objective, even though it was developed by humans?

Can an AI develop feelings?

Can an AI have compassion or a sense of justice?

Will humans become smarter or dumber by using AI? Why?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of letting AIs make decisions for us?

Which movie about AI do you like best, and why?

Questions about the use of artificial intelligence in everyday life

Today, AI has already spread into each area of our daily life. With these questions, you can exchange opinions on this development.

Where does artificial intelligence already support you in your daily life?

In which areas should AI be used more intense?

What scenarios do you know for the use of AI in business?

Would you ride in an autonomous driving car? Or in an autonomous flying machine?

What would you use a robot for?

Would you rather have services – like haircuts – provided by robots than humans if it cost less?

Do you use voice assistants like Siri or Alexa? Why, or why not?

Have you had a conversation with a chatbot when you were at a company’s customer service desk? What was your experience?

How has the use of AI already changed your profession? How will your profession change in the coming years?

What apps from your smartphone are already using AI?

What things would you like to do yourself, although an AI might be better at it?

Which “smart” device would you like to have at home, and which not?

Legal and ethical questions about artificial intelligenc

These questions are for advanced students and can be used to start highly controversial and even philosophic discussions.

What is artificial intelligence anyway? At what point is a machine truly intelligent?

How might an AI be taught to respect human rights?

Is an AI allowed to make decisions on its own that can greatly affect people’s lives?

Do there need to be laws governing what an AI can and cannot do?

If robots can think for themselves, don’t you need to be given personal rights?

If an AI injures or kills a human, who is to blame? The manufacturer, the owner, or the AI itself?

Do AIs need liability insurance?

Who owns all the data an AI collects or generates itself?

When AIs always and anywhere collect data about all aspects of our lives: how do data privacy laws need to change?

Should weapons systems be equipped with AI for war? Why or why not?

How can we prevent AIs from developing the same prejudices as humans, for example against women, people of color, or ethnic minorities?

Should AIs be able to stop humans from doing bad things?

Tips on Using AI Questions in the Classroom

You can put students into pairs or small teams, or discuss the questions with the entire class. Another option is to ask your students individually to write down short answers or longer essays on a specific questions. Later, they can present their thoughts in front of the class.

By using these questions, your students will learn new vocabulary in the context of artificial intelligence. They will learn how to analyze complex topics, consider different viewpoints, which helps them in daily life and especially in business. 

These questions can be perfectly combined with other ESL Technology Questions. Another great option to start conversations are “Would You Rather” Questions or these fun speaking activities.

You can find all of our teaching resources here.

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