Teens Unite to Make Sense of Brexit using Artificial Intelligence

Acorn Aspirations
5 min readJan 29, 2019

#GenZHack uses tech to give young people a voice in order to tackle the challenges of Brexit

Teams of over 50 teenagers came together to explore the meaning of Brexit and the impact it will have on the nation and their lives.

The Teens In AI initiative, launched by the award-winning social impact enterprise Acorn Aspirations, in partnership with IPsoft, the global leader in Enterprise AI, ran the Gen Z Hackathon for teenagers at the Leadenhall Building in London over the weekend of 26th — 27th January 2019.

With the help of the judging panel including; Tanya Ahmed — Head of User Experience at QuantumBlack, Danny Bluestone — Founder and CEO of Cyber Duck, Corinne Fitzgerald — Head of Insurance Risk at SwissRe, Sabine Azancot — Lead Partner Digital Strategy at IBM, Alexandra Frean — Head of Corporate Affairs at Starling Bank, the hackathon was able to award each participant with prizes, ranging from a team mentoring sessions with IPsoft, to the top prize of technology workshops with QuantumBlack.

Gerard Crech, CEO of Technation, who opened the event said:

“Teens in AI is doing great work and being vital service to young people who will power our future economy. The skills in artificial intelligence, natural language processing and machine learning are crucial for the UK to retain its place as AI powerhouse”

The aim of #GenZHack was to tackle socio-economic challenges and unlock new opportunities for people, places and sectors impacted by Brexit. The teams were tasked with identifying problems and creating a “minimum viable product” to address those challenges using artificial intelligence and machine learning. The teams and their projects were:

  • Hoodat — An app which reports unknown telephone numbers that send you suspicious messages via WhatsApp
  • FalseFinder — A chrome extension which uses machine learning to detect fake news
  • BrexitBot — A web-based chatbot, that aids young people to understand Brexit
  • UVO — An app that allows young people to vote on, and develop, a further understanding of current political topics
  • IDEAL — An app designed to reduce stress levels of students through improved organisation
  • HabitAI — An interactive application using AI to help enforce healthy habits
  • DRai — AI system which helps doctors make sense of data
  • webDETECT — A browser extension that analyses the topic of an article to see if it holds any bias
  • GlassBox — Designed to improve transparency of the supply chain to support ethical purchasing

The winner of the #GenZHack, was UVO, an app that encourages teenagers to not only become more informed about politics but also help to increase young people’s turn out rate in future elections.

More information about the #GenZHack can be found here.

Elena Sinel, Founder and CEO of Acorn Aspirations & Teens in AI, says:

“Teens In AI is a movement committed to empowering young people to solve real-world problems through AI and machine learning. Recent political events have created uncertainties across many sectors and are bound to leave a significant impact on the future of the UK. It is more important than ever to involve the younger generation to express their voices, concerns, and opinions on how the future can be shaped through technology. This hackathon is the first event organised entirely by teens for teens, which shows their engagement and passion for technology and its ability to solve problems and change the world for the better.”

David Champeaux, Global Cognitive Healthcare Business leader, IPsoft, says:

“In just a couple of decades the world of work will be unrecognisable, with artificially intelligent systems eliminating routine tasks and freeing human talent to focus on creating value through innovation. We believe we must prepare our young people to thrive in this future workforce and so we were delighted to be able to contribute to inspiring a new generation of talent by hosting the #GenZHack organised by Teens In AI. We were thrilled to welcome such a diverse group of teens to our London office and mentor them on the design of cognitive virtual agents into solutions addressing a variety of challenges related to Brexit and provide ongoing support to the teams who designed our cognitive virtual agent Amelia into their projects”

About​ ​Acorn​ ​Aspirations

Acorn Aspirations is a global teen tech accelerator for future digital leaders. An award-winning social impact company, (Winner of CogX AI Innovation Awards 2017 and Google Developers Launchpad Accelerator) and a MassChallenge Finalist, Acorn Aspirations is on a mission to bridge the digital skills gap, nurture the next generation of tech talent and fill the jobs required by the tech industry. Having run 7 events in 2018, and a GirlsInAI and NASA Hack organised for February and March 2019, Acorn is truly changing the world for the better.

Please see http://acornaspirations.com/ for more details.

About​ ​Teens In AI

Teens In AI is an Acorn Aspirations initiative. It exists to increase diversity and inclusion in artificial intelligence. It aims to democratise AI and create opportunities for underrepresented talent through a combination of expert mentoring, talks, workshops, hackathons, bootcamps and accelerators, company tours and networking opportunities that give young people aged 12–18 early exposure to AI for social good. The vision is for AI to be developed by a diverse group of thinkers and doers advancing AI for humanity’s benefit.

Please see http://teensinai.com/ for more details.

About IPsoft

IPsoft is the leader in Enterprise Artificial Intelligence (AI), cognitive and autonomic solutions and the home of Amelia, the industry’s most-human digital AI colleague. Amelia’s ability to learn, interact and improve over time makes her the market’s only AI that can fully understand user needs and intentions. Amelia can be trained to recognize words and phrases in several languages. She delivers real-life business benefits including lower operating costs, higher customer satisfaction and increased employee productivity. IPsoft was the first company to launch an end-to-end digital platform, 1Desk™, to deliver shared enterprise services. By connecting front-office conversations to back-end systems, IPsoft automates business processes that serve employees, customers and citizens, resulting in rapid resolutions, satisfied users and substantial organizational savings.

Headquartered in New York City, IPsoft has offices in 15 countries and serves more than 550 of the world’s leading brands, including more than half of the world’s largest IT services providers.

Please see https://www.ipsoft.com/ for more details.




Acorn Aspirations

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