Pre-course Preparation for the 'Introduction to AI' course

These notes are written for those who will be attending a face-to-face course which will generally have between 12 and 15 people.

All course materials are on this website where they are arranged as six sessions on different topics. During a face-to-face course there will be a lot of additional background to help you make sense of all of this.

If you need help please ask by email etc. Previous groups taking the course have also found it useful to set up a course WhatsApp for example 'U3A AI G4' after the first session. That helped them share their many creations and find support and encouragement.

Contribution to room hire costs. The AI course is free but, if you are able, it helps if you contribute £ 1-00 (one pound) per session attended towards the room hire. This can be done by cash or BACS.

1. Welcome. The Silver AI Project is a 'face to face' course which is intended to spread the basic skills of using AI to non-technical users, which is of course the vast majority of people. AI at heart is 'intelligence on tap' and anyone who uses it is therefore giving themselves the advantages that come with added cleverness.

2. Arranging Access to AI Tools. You can attend the course without ever touching a keyboard. If so then no need to read this further! On the other hand, if you would like to use the AI software tools, do 'sign up' to one or more of the AI tools below that allow free use. During the course itself there won't be much time for you to use AI Tools so use will typically be 'at home' between the Sessions. It can help to get set up prior to the course however so you can ask for help if needed. There is usually a little time after each session ends for this. If you do not have the time now though, don't worry.

Generally course materials are projected onto a screen, and visibility can be imperfect in some venues - so people with weaker eyesight may find difficulty in seeing. If so do bring an iPad, phone or equivalent along so that you can view the course website during the course to help you follow along. The course website is:

Note. Some AI tools ask for you to logon using a 'Discord account'. If so, that is a popular business collaboration tool and an account is free.

2.1 AI Music Tools.

The course usually starts by looking at a song from somebody like as it is a very gentle and amusing way to start using AI tools. Indeed the majority of people on the courses usually create at least one Suno song, and an AI image to match it. Suno is free to use though in busy times you will get kicked off in favour of those with a subscription. There is also now a second powerful music tool which is called Udio

2.2. AI Art Tools.

Most students wish to create some AI Art for themselves. There are many options. The best tool at the moment is probably Midjourney but that is subscription. Below are three tools with free options. In no case should you need to give credit cards details.

Ideogram.AI. Has a FREE option and has been the most frequently used free art tool by course students recently.

Ideogram link is Ideogram AI.

Leonardo.AI. This AI Art tool has a free 'daily' allowance for you to use. Link to 'create a Leonardo account, no credit card needed.

DreamStudio.AI. This 'text to art' tool gives you some initial FREE credits with enough free to make it useful for the course. There is a DreamStudio page here which explains how you need to sign up for a Stability AI account first.

2.3 AI Chat Tools. We start looking at these in Session 2 onwards but if you want to get ahead then sign up now. There are many choices here as a 'free' option is often given.

Until very recently (Monday 13th May 2024 - possibly a historically significant date) we recommended Claude as that seemed to have the best free option. Now however OpenAI have made their new version GPT-4o available even to their free users and it is really very very powerful, more so than what was until then the paid for version GPT4. It is available as both an Apple and Android App but please be careful - there are lots of similar sounding ones. Weblinks: and

Claude remains powerful as a chat tool with a FREE option called Claude 3 Sonnet. There is a page here to explain how to register which we recommend you do. See here Setting up an Anthropic Claude 3 account.

3. X (Twitter) .

Most students find it useful to set up a free X account to follow the course X account @silverAIproject which tracks latest developments and sometimes showcases student work. This is optional though so do not worry if you would prefer not to use it.