The AI4Good Summer Lab 2019 has officially come to an end. This lab was filled with seven weeks of excitement, happiness, knowledge, occasional stress, and most importantly, empowerment. Thirty participants enrolled into this year’s Summer Lab with the hope of learning more about AI, gaining a supportive network, and increasing female representation in the AI industry. They formed seven teams, worked on projects related to social good, and presented their work to some of the biggest names in the industry from DeepMind, Google, Mila, Nvidia, and others. They also had the chance to visit the offices of leading AI companies such as SPORTLOGiQ, Automat, and Element AI, and attend workshops and mentoring sessions by AI researchers from Facebook Research, Shopify, and many others.
On the last day of the Summer Lab, we asked the participants to reflect on their experiences and comment on their most memorable event or experience during the Summer Lab.
Elentless, a team that analyzed gender biases in hiring by using LinkedIn profile data, and Waste Not, a team that aimed at reducing food waste in cafes, both agreed that Demo night, where all teams showcased their projects, was the most memorable event of the Summer Lab.
“Demo Night was where all of the pieces of our project came together to pitch and showcase to an audience who are just as passionate about technology for good as we are.” - Elentless
Moreover, the Waste Not Team explained: “After three weeks of research, exploration, and implementation, it was awesome to show off all our hard work and bring the project to a close... For now!” AI.D, a team that created a platform to manage chronic pain using a personal schedule, agreed with these two teams, and commented, “We were so proud of everything we all accomplished and we were excited to be able to show to the world. AI.D is really close to our hearts and we wanted to do it justice for the chronic pain community and for the lab itself.”
In addition, Bean There, a team that worked towards creating a chatbot that provides mental health resources to students, and Ad Awareness, a team that analyzed gender biases in commercials, claimed that meeting with mentors and visiting companies in the AI and technology sectors was the highlight of their experience. The Bean There team said that when they stepped into the Shopify office to meet their mentor, they were met with a lively atmosphere, a collaborative culture, and most importantly, free food! They indicated “It was inspiring and motivating to work with our mentor and receive advice and feedback.” Furthermore, the Ad Awareness team explained how talking with mentors was definitely one of their biggest assets during the project weeks. They got to know them personally and see how AI companies operate.
"We have touched the core of AI industry which we never thought we could before coming to this lab. Overall, the project gave us a sense of achievement.” - Ad Awareness
On the other hand, ClimateTimes, a team studying news coverage about climate change, found that receiving feedback from people of diverse backgrounds greatly informed their direction forward. The opportunity to converse about their project really pushed them to view their challenges in a different light so that they could explore different avenues of problem solving.
It sure seems like the teams enjoyed their experience. The AI4Good team is extremely happy to see these teams thrive and is looking forward to seeing all the participants accomplish great things in the future.