The Journey Doesn’t End Here, It Begins

by Suhana Sahib

AI Can Help

Fiji, the nation where I was born and started dreaming. These dreams soon started appearing in my mind during daylight and those dreams are exactly the same ones I aspire to achieve each day.

“What’s within you is stronger than what’s in the way.” — Erik Weihenmayer

The AI Accelerator is organised by Teens in AI and enables teenagers to find their inner confidence whilst changing the world. Just like the rest of the teams, my team and I accelerated our project, AI Can Help: A platform that empowers companies with AI predictions and data to help them identify where the greatest impact can be made. Two continuous weeks of learning ran me through multiple lessons, technologies and applications that were highly applicable to the project we were working on.

I have participated in two of the Teens in AI programmes, which were the YouthvsCOVID global online hackathon and AI Accelerator 2020. In the YouthvsCOVID hackathon, our team AI Can Help, were placed second overall, and were given the incentive of being able to participate in the AI Accelerator programme. At the Accelerator, my team and I worked on expanding our model and pivoted at certain points to allow greater impact of our product.

Why Should Teenagers Participate In The AI Accelerator?

I can guarantee every teenager that all programmes organized by Teens In AI will give them an experience of a lifetime. This year the Accelerator was held on a virtual stage due to the coronavirus pandemic, and this did not even act as a hindrance for us to learn. The past two weeks have been ‘dream-chasing’ ones to make a project realistically amazing. So, what makes the AI Accelerator a thriving one for teenagers to participate in?

Here Are Top 10 Reasons Why I Think The AI Accelerator Is Amazing!

1. Engage in Workshops

Yes, workshops are conducted for you to learn how to initiate developing your ideas. Some of the workshops that were designed for the participants were the Design Thinking, Digital Marketing, Value Proposition, QuantumBlack Computing, Branding as well as the Business Model Canvas workshop. The design thinking workshop clearly outlined how an idea can be turned into a product, and that is exactly how all teams progressed as they attended the workshop. Likewise, the digital marketing and other workshops were conducted, engaging participants while sharing specific information virtually.

2. Learn From Ethics, Business & Tech Experts

In order for a team to be consistently correct in their work, they need to be nurtured by their mentors as they implement each feature to their product. Personally, for our product — AI Can Help, we needed the guidance of ethics, business as well as tech mentors. Privacy and security of user information, and data integrity are two major ethical concerns that we needed to consider. It is best to seek the guidance of business and tech mentors in situations when you are pivoting from one point to another.

3. Build Onto Your Soft Skills

Teamwork is the key to unlocking the best results of a project. Communicating everyday with your teammates and engaging in conversations with mentors builds the teamwork skills of participants. At the Accelerator, each participant is designated a role in their team, and this enables participants to realize their responsibility while carrying out a project. Another soft skill that participants work towards while pitching in front of the judges, is their presentation skills. This also helps in boosting confidence levels and improving self-esteem.

4. Learn About New Technologies

Participants are able to gain exposure to different applications through workshops and mentor support. The best applications are suggested for teams to use in programming out their ideas. Instructions on how to use Jupyter Notebook, Pandas, Spyder, Marvel and many more applications, are provided. Teams are able to understand and know even the unheard AI platforms that they can use to form their product.

5. Build Onto Your Coding Skills

Those participants who are beginners in programming are actually able to build onto their coding skills. This is made possible through the AIs in projects that enable the front-end and back-end developers of teams to programme their product. The bootcamp that was held in the first week offered the machine learning and software engineering tracks. These two tracks enabled all participants to learn from the videos and illustrations posted by the instructors on how to code various types of models, for example the regression model.

6. Get Inspired By All Invited Speakers

Each day, there were different speakers who addressed viewers on meaningful topics. On day one of the Accelerator, Nitendra Rajput from MasterCard delivered the introduction speech to kick start the course. Each day, there was a livestream on YouTube where more excellent speakers like Mathias Goyen, Samaira Khan and Inderpal Bhandari presented. Their words gave me personally the boosting knowledge that I needed from experienced professionals.

7. Meet New People at Exciting Social Nights

Social nights are simple refresher activities that are scheduled at night so that participants are able to interact with each other and have fun at the same time. Kahoot, movie, Werewolf and Minecraft are some of the activity options that were voted upon by the participants each night. These social nights have been amazingly interesting, except I attended only a few of them, jokes!

8. Build your network

As young people it is important for us to keep good connections because this binds our career goals together. The AI Accelerator allows participants to connect with professionals from Mastercard, Microsoft, IBM, as well as QuantumBlack. The two amazing weeks of learning at this amazing programme doesn’t end because teams are given further opportunities to grow and work on their projects by engaging with organizations professionals.

9. Recognition And Appreciation

A successful project is the result of the dedication, hard work, and devotion of a team that spends day and night working on an idea that they believe will bring a solution-change to the world. Every team, whether they have been placed in the top 3 or not, are given equal acceptance and appreciation by the judges and mentors. Many teams decide to take their projects even further and receive the guidance of mentors and organizations too. Each participant also receives a certificate of recognition, which portrays not only participation, but also career goals.

10. Let Your Career Goals Become More Clearer

Yes! It is true that with the AI Accelerator, many find their love and passion for AI as they decide to take up this field of education at college. Often teens just need an experience to clear their dusty path on deciding what they should take up after high school. Teenagers who join the Accelerator have a hidden taste of the tech world within them, but are unable to reveal it to themselves until they realize that yes, this has been my dream. Teens in AI proves with every course and programme, that AI has the ‘strength of a diamond’ to change the world!

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For more information about the AI Accelerator: https://www.teensinai.com/accelerator/

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