AIxEntrepreneurs – The platform that inspires young innovators in the UAE

 

Science is humanity’s single greatest collective endeavor. In today’s world, challenges faced by society and the world at large seem to cut across traditional boundaries of disciplines and stretch across the lifecycle of innovation. To that end, science is a force for good as it responds to societal needs and global challenges, generates solutions for everyday life and offers us answers to the mysteries of our universe.

Arguably, one of the greatest breakthrough in the sciences is the development and deployment of Artificial Intelligence (AI). From automating transportation to preventing the spread of fake news and increasing the effectiveness of medical diagnoses, AI plays an incredibly important role in transforming society. Given its widespread ethical implications and its potential for positive impact, the AI revolution should not be limited to only computer scientists, researchers, and policymakers. Rather, those who are poised to be the future of innovation and change, students, should be driving forces behind the AI revolution. To this end, it is crucial that students of all backgrounds and identities have access to an AI education early on.

As someone who has been deeply involved in AI, I find it troubling to see such a significant gap in terms of resources and opportunities available to students interested in the field. In the pursuit of an AI education, I’ve gone to lengths to teach myself; from scouring the Internet for resources, to taking college-level courses on machine learning, to working on AI-powered projects and attending tech camps. Believe me when I say that pursuing an AI education on your own does not come easy. Having witnessed firsthand the inaccessibility of AI-centric resources, I was inspired to create something that would bridge the knowledge gap for young AI enthusiasts. This was the premise on which I started AIxEntrepreneurs.

Founded in late-2019, AIxEntrepreneurs is a youth-led platform that introduces students to fundamental AI concepts and inspires them to pursue their own AI-enabled startup idea. I, as a part of AIxEntrepreneurs, am driven by one unifying goal: to provide an ecosystem where students of diverse backgrounds can learn AI and collaborate to solve the world’s greatest problems. AIxEntrepreneurs started out in Abu Dhabi as a club with around 25 students who met two hours every week at the Federal Youth Authority’s Abu Dhabi Youth Hub. Since then, AIxEntrepreneurs has grown to include over 150 members and, as of this writing, has chapters located across Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.

AIxEntrepreneurs is grounded primarily on its core curriculum which is designed as such to demystify complex AI technologies like neural networks, natural language processing and deep learning through presentations, activities and worksheets. Learning and teaching Artificial Intelligence demands an interdisciplinary approach, and so the core curriculum integrates topics as varied as medicine, agriculture and business as they relate to AI. In addition to instruction through the curriculum, my team (chapter ambassadors) and I are actively working towards hosting webinars and workshops, and inviting guest speakers. Most recently, we hosted a Shark Tank inspired startup competition where high school students had the opportunity to pitch their startup ideas to a panel of distinguished judges. 

 

As the coronavirus outbreak spreads fear and forces us to self-isolate, we must remind ourselves that profound, positive change is possible. In trying times such as these, we often lean towards science and learning as a beacon of hope. Accordingly, AIxEntrepreneurs has continued on its path of providing an equitable AI education by shifting instruction online. We also aim to upload instructional material like videos and presentations online free-of-cost. You can now explore the nuances of Artificial Intelligence and feed your entrepreneurial spirit from the comforts of your home! To the changemakers, the seekers, the movers and the thinkers, consider this your call-to-action. Join one of our AIxEntrepreneurs chapters and see if it piques your interest in the science of Artificial Intelligence. To learn more about our work, visit us at http://www.aixentrepreneurs.com.

Aashi Tyagi
Aashi Tyagi is a junior at the International School of Choueifat in Abu Dhabi.