As our generation drives the future of AI, we will aim to avoid biases and using AI with malicious intent

Acorn Aspirations
3 min readAug 31, 2020

by Naila (13), UK


Originally, I had no clue what an accelerator was. I never in a million years thought that I would’ve got in, as I found out about this amazing programme just days before the deadline for applications, and submitted my application minutes before the deadline. I had no clue about how to code, I didn’t know what AI or ML was, and thought of the two as the same thing. I didn’t understand how important it was to make sure that as we were using AI and ML, we needed to ensure that what we developed was ethical. But now, I’m pretty sure that if you asked me about AI or ML now, I would be able to talk about both for hours and hours about how interesting these concepts are.

Coming into this, I was very nervous as I knew that I would be meeting other people who I didn’t know and who I thought would be much more skilled and talented than I, especially at coding. However, I quickly found out that many people were feeling the same way, which definitely settled my nerves. When I had the first call with my team, it was initially very awkward as we didn’t know each other at all and we had to come up with a product in a very short space of time that would change the world. However, now I can definitely say that we have all bonded an immense amount, we have also learnt so much from each other, in terms of collaboration, listening to each other, sharing thoughts and becoming friends.

I loved the accelerator, because I learnt a lot of skills in a short period of time: teamwork, pitching, design thinking, learning the basics of Python and public speaking (just to name a few).

I think that every single teen should have the opportunity to learn these skills, no matter their circumstances as we need an amazing generation to shape the future.

Another thing which was instilled from us from the beginning of the accelerator was the importance of ethics in AI. I think that ethics in AI is incredibly important, and I wouldn’t know it was even a factor to consider whilst developing a product had we not been taught about it by mentors in the accelerator.

By teaching us about ethics, hopefully as our generation drives the future of AI, we can avoid biases and using AI with a malicious intent.

I met so many amazing people in the tech and entrepreneurial businesses, who helped my team and I to develop our product. We received a lot of amazing advice from them, which helped to make our product the best that it could be. In addition, we listened to many inspirational speakers with stories I could relate to. Everyone was so diverse, I was so happy to see so many successful people who looked like me, that had accomplished so much.

Being a young black girl, it is very hard to find representation and people that look similar to me who I can relate to, and the accelerator provided me with so many people who I could look up to and strive to be like.

I’m so grateful that I have had the chance to participate in this accelerator, because I have gained so much knowledge and I would do anything to be able to have this experience again. What Elena and the rest of the Teens In AI team are doing is absolutely amazing, opportunities like these have such positive impacts on young people’s lives and I believe that as many teens as possible should be able to experience them so that our generation can change the world for the better using AI.


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Acorn Aspirations

Powering the Next Generation of Thought Leaders, Innovators and Technologists in #AI @teensinai #TeensInAI #GirlsinAI #MCStartup2016 Founder @elenasinel