The Artificial Intelligence (AI) strand of our Stronger Together programme aims to develop specialised skills that will enable young leaders to design AI-based solutions responding to social and climate challenges.
Hence, the British Council is joining forces with Microsoft Hellas to develop a hackathon during which young people will explore and showcase the power of artificial intelligence for the common good.
AI is seen as a technology that has the power to solve some of the biggest global challenges facing us today. Young people have the power to influence the future of AI and whether it will be used as a tool for shaping solutions to real problems. It is a field in which they will be called to act critically, influence others and support wider society. It is crucial to channel our youth leadership work towards a field that will enable young people to be at the forefront of progress as actors of positive impact through social action.
We are running several activities as a part of our programme in 2022–23:
- online focus groups in October 2022
- face-to-face hackathons in Cyprus, Greece, Ireland and Hungary in 2022 and early 2023.
- online policy dialogue event in March 2023.
The online focus groups aim to provide opportunities for dialogue on the use of AI for the common good, allowing for young people’s views to be shaped into recommendations. These recommendations will be presented in a final policy dialogue bringing youth together with high level representatives from academia, business and policy.
Our first online focus group took place on Friday 7 October 2022, 12.00–14.00 CET.
On the 13th and 14th of March 2023 National College of Ireland, in partnership with British Council Ireland, hosted an AI Hackathon for the common good, focused on the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), and co-organised by Dr Anu Sahni, Musfira Jilani and Michael Bradford, with the support of the Dean of the School of Computing, Dr Paul Stynes; Commercial Manager, Bertie Kelly and many faculty who came to offer guidance and support to the students.
Three teams chose to focus on air pollution as the topic had existing data sets to work with and it related to three SDGs: Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-being), Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and Goal 13 (Climate Action). A fourth team proposed a Mammoscan app to assist with early diagnosis of breast cancer in places where it is more difficult to access medical check-ups, whether that is because of financial or logistical impediments, addressing Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-being) and Goal 10 (reduced inequalities).
The winning team also addressed Goals 3 and 10, with a project called Little Life that could be used, again, where it is more difficult to access medical care, but also link in with GPs and hospitals, described a system that would monitor key health indicators of a pregnancy (both maternal and foetal) and raise the alarm early if the overall 'score' was outside of healthy parameters, ensuring medical intervention would be sought in good time.
These data-driven projects each had a machine learning component, so that the systems would continue to learn and increase in accuracy as they gathered more real-time data.