Ten days to create a world-saving startup — Mathure Uththerakunaseelan

Meeting George Alagiah (BBC)

During the last ten days, I had the pleasure of taking part in the Teens In AI Accelerator. I first came to know of this program through an email that Elena sent to me, having attended another one of their hackathons in January and then enduring the tough application process for this accelerator, I knew that this would be a valuable experience.

Before attending this program, I did not have any knowledge of AI and so, the prospect of learning more about a topic that is used so widely today interested me immensely. Everyday we had at least one speaker (in fact, the majority of days had three speakers) come in and educate us more about the uses of AI in different industries. We also had a daily ethics hour, which was a subject that I was very interested in. A few of the speakers that we had were: George Alagiah (news presenter at BBC), Zubair Junjunia (founder of Znotes) and Jessica Morley (AI lead for NHSX). I found these daily talks incredibly insightful and they inspired me to work harder towards the goals of creating our product.

At the beginning of the program, we were split into groups, all tackling an issue from the UN Sustainable Development Goals, meaning that our code would be used for the wider good; my team decided to address the global food crisis which was caused by the growing population. In addition to this, we also had AI coding sessions that were run by various mentors (Cihan, Sondess, Peter; they taught at differing levels of difficulty), where we were taught how to code an AI and adapt code so that the AI could use a different dataset. Moreover, Peter held incredibly useful maths sessions regularly that helped us understand the maths behind AI. He explained it in a clear manner, allowing us to easily go through topics that we had not even covered in school yet!

In conclusion, I would say that this experience has been very rewarding as I have now created a product with my team that I am very proud of and hope to pursue after the accelerator finishes. Not only did I learn about AI, but I had learned more maths, presentation skills and a slew of other skills that I never thought that I would have learnt. I would say that this accelerator is an unforgettable experience and that I will use the skills that I’ve gained from this for the rest of my life.

By Mathure Uththerakunaseelan

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

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