AI summer camp for underrepresented youth goes international, tripling AI4ALL’s impact
“Stanford AI4ALL didn’t just teach me that the power of AI was at my fingertips, but that the ability to make a bigger impact in my community was right in front of me,” said Seattle-area 10th grader Archika Dogra, Stanford AI4ALL 2017 alumna in a recent blog post. Archika’s nonprofit EduSTEM, launched last year, has already impacted over 100 low-income and underserved elementary school students in her community through computer science education.
With the goal of enabling more stories like Archika’s, AI4ALL is pleased to announce the expansion of their summer AI education programs for underrepresented high school students to 4 new sites in summer 2018, tripling their current offering and reaching 175+ new students. The new programs will launch at Carnegie Mellon University, Princeton University, Simon Fraser University, and Boston University, joining the existing programs at Stanford University and UC Berkeley. Each program will work to diversify AI by lowering barriers into AI for underrepresented students in grades 9–12 through peer support, exposure to role models in the field, and a focus on tangible applications for AI that can solve problems within students’ own communities.
Each program is a collaboration between AI4ALL and an AI researcher at the university who leads the partnership. Students get the unique experience of having access to cutting-edge researchers who are already making an impact in their field. UC Berkeley’s AI4ALL Program Director, Dr. Anca Dragan — Assistant Professor of Computer Science at UC Berkeley and 2017 winner of MIT Tech Review 35 Innovators Under 35 — says, “[our program] aims to open up the world of AI to high-potential high school students from underserved communities…I’m really excited for this next generation of students to learn AI from the get-go as a human-centered, ‘how can we help real people’ field.”
“As AI becomes increasingly pervasive, it’s more important than ever to ensure diversity in the development teams creating it. Building complete AI systems is not just about businesses solving problems for others, but about populations being able to solve problems for themselves. Autodesk is a huge proponent of AI4ALL’s work and we’re excited to help attract, mentor and foster relationships with tomorrow’s AI leaders,” said Danny Guillory, head of diversity and inclusion, Autodesk, and AI4ALL advisory board member.
Autodesk’s financial support will be used to grow new programs and additionally to support the AI4ALL alumni program, which provides year-round educational programming, a community of peers and mentors, and career exploration at AI-focused companies like Autodesk for students who have participated in AI4ALL education programs. AI4ALL alumni have gone on to do award-winning AI research, like 12th grader Amy Jin, whose research recently won Best Paper at the Machine Learning for Health workshop at NIPS 2017. AI4ALL alumni have also impacted over 950 underrepresented K-12th graders in their communities through computer science and AI education efforts like Archika Dogra’s EduSTEM and Catherine Yeo and Eva Prakash’s PixelHacks.
To further their mission to diversify AI, AI4ALL has built a board of advisors that bring a diversity of perspectives into the development and direction of the organization.
“It is imperative that we ensure that AI — a truly game changing technology — is being developed by members of socially disadvantaged racial minority communities. Doing so will help mitigate and even eliminate the proliferation of bias in the devices and platforms of the future,” said Rodney Sampson, Partner, Diversity & Inclusion at TechSquare Labs in Atlanta, GA and AI4ALL advisor. “It is for this reason that I’m excited to serve as an advisor to AI4ALL.”
“When I immigrated from Bolivia to the US in my youth, the primary ‘language’ I gravitated towards to feel included in school was mathematics. This led to my serendipitous career path into software engineering, [which] proved to be a game-changer for my character, economic upward mobility, and current career trajectory,” said Lili Gangas, Chief Technology Community Officer at the Kapor Center for Social Impact in Oakland, CA and AI4ALL advisor. “With AI4ALL, I want to help chart an intentional path into emerging technologies, pay it forward, and not leave a youth’s path to chance. I believe in AI4ALL’s mission and curriculum because together we are raising expectations for our diverse youth who will surprise the world by changing AI for good.”
In addition to Danny Guillory, Rodney Sampson, and Lili Gangas, the advisory board includes Dr. Maria Klawe (Harvey Mudd College), Tom Kalil (Eric and Wendy Schmidt Group), Laurie Yoler (Zoox), Jensen Huang (NVIDIA), and Ashley Still (Adobe).
“This mission isn’t something we accomplish on our own. Our work and impact are made possible by our supporters, funders, and wider community committed to this mission” said Tess Posner, executive director of AI4ALL. “Together, we can democratize access to ensure diverse voices are creating and shaping this critical technology — and that its benefits are widely shared.”
AI4ALL is a nonprofit working to increase diversity and inclusion in artificial intelligence in order to ensure ethical, robust AI, to help mitigate algorithmic bias, and to advance AI for humanity’s benefit. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, AI4ALL creates pipelines for underrepresented talent through education and mentorship programs around North America that give high school students early exposure to technical AI. AI4ALL’s vision is for AI to be developed by a broad group of thinkers and doers advancing AI for humanity’s benefit.
Nicole Halmi • Marketing Manager, AI4ALL • firstname.lastname@example.org