Next Generation: ‘Teens in AI’ Takes on the Ada Lovelace Hackathon

September 22, 2021

Sept. 22, 2021 — Jobs in data science and AI are among the fastest growing in the entire workforce, according to LinkedIn’s 2021 Jobs Report.

Teens in AI, a London-based initiative, is working to inspire the next generation of AI researchers, entrepreneurs and leaders through a combination of hackathons, accelerators, networking events and bootcamps.

In October, the organization, with support from NVIDIA, will host the annual Ada Lovelace Hackathon, created for young women ages 11-18 to get a glimpse of all that can be done in the world of AI.

Inspired By AI

The need to embolden young women to join the tech industry is great.

Only 30 percent of the world’s science researchers are women. And fewer than one in five authors at leading AI conferences are women, about the same ratio of those teaching AI-related subjects, according to the AI Now Institute.

Founded by social entrepreneur Elena Sinel, Teens in AI is trying to change that. It aims to give young people — especially young women — early exposure to AI that’s being developed and deployed to promote social good.

The organization, which was launched at the 2018 AI for Good Global Summit at the United Nations, has an expansive network of mentors from some of the world’s leading companies. These volunteers work with students and inspire them to use AI to address social, humanitarian and environmental challenges.

“A shortage of STEM skills costs businesses billions of dollars every year, impacting UK businesses alone by about £1.5 billion a year,” Sinel said. “Yet with so few girls — especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds — studying STEM, we are depriving ourselves of potential talent.”

Sinel said that Teens in AI makes STEM education approachable and increases exposure to female role models, showing young women that a bright  STEM  career isn’t reserved for only males.

“We can’t do this on our own, so we’re constantly on the lookout for like-minded corporate partners like NVIDIA who will work with us to grow this community of young people who want to make the world more inclusive and sustainable,” she said.

Ada Lovelace Hackathon

With the company’s support, the Ada Lovelace Hackathon — named for the 19th-century mathematician who is often regarded as the first computer programmer — showcases speakers and mentors to encourage young women to pursue a career in AI. This year’s event is expected to reach more than 1,000 girls from 20+ countries.

Participants will have the opportunity to receive prizes and get access to NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute credits for more advanced hands-on training and experience.

NVIDIA employees around the world will serve as mentors and judges.

Kate Kallot, head of emerging areas at NVIDIA, judged last year’s Ada Lovelace Hackathon, as well as August’s Global AI Accelerator Program for Teens in AI.

“I hope to inform and inspire young people in how they can help fuel applications and the AI revolution,” Kallot said. “While there’s a heavy demand for people with technical skills, what’s also needed is a future AI workforce that is truly reflective of our diverse world.”

Kallot talked more about the importance of fighting racial biases in the AI industry on a recent Teens in AI podcast episode.

Championing Diversity

NVIDIA’s support of Teens in AI is part of our broader commitment to bringing more diversity to tech, expanding access to AI education and championing opportunities for traditionally underrepresented groups.

This year, NVIDIA announced a partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania to develop an open-source AI and robotics curriculum for high school students. The collaboration has given hundreds of Jetson Nano developer kits to educators in schools and nonprofits, through the NVIDIA Jetson Nano 2GB Developer Kit Grant Program.

NVIDIA also works with minority-serving institutions and diversity-focused professional organizations to offer training opportunities — including free seats for hands-on certification courses through the NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute.

Driving the Future of AI

AI is growing at an incredible rate. The AI market is predicted to be worth $360 billion by 2028, up from just $35 billion in 2020, and is expected to add $880 billion to the U.K. economy by 2035.

Over 90 percent of leading businesses have an ongoing investment in AI, 23 percent of customer service organizations are using AI-powered chatbots and 46 percent of people are using AI every single day.

In such a landscape, encouraging young people across the globe to embark on their AI journeys is all the more important.

Learn more about Teens in AI and the NVIDIA Jetson Grant Program.


Source: Liz Austin, NVIDIA

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