Year 10 Lara Brings Together 21 Schools for AI “Hackathon”

AI-enthusiast Lara Glenn, from Year 10 inspired a weekend of creative AI brainstorming at NHEHS to help tackle global problems.

Lara persuaded NHEHS to host an AI-inspired Hackathon which she single handedly organised along with a team of just 5, bringing together speakers, workshops, challenges and 21 Schools on March 7-8th.

Over the course of the weekend, Lara, a “Teens in AI” Ambassador, organised a two day Hackathon putting AI at its heart. Workshops such as `Design Thinking’, talks such as `The Myths about AI’, led to a practical “Apprentice” style challenge where teams designed a prototype using AI technology in order to address one of the five sustainable development goals as set out by the UN.

Their ideas were then presented to a group of judges who decided on an overall team winner.

Through Lara’s leadership, the teams were encouraged to identify a world issue and then design a solution to it using AI technology – with some fascinating outcomes.

One team devised a chatbot as part of their project to preserve herd immunity by distracting young children while they are being vaccinated. They used their chatbot to collect information about the child, for example, their favourite colour and TV show, and created a game tailored to the individual.

Aiming to address the recent wildfires in Australia, another team used AI to create a predictive mechanism which could observe weather patterns and humidity in order to alert people within the local area of any imminent problems. The winning team built a forum for those who have been discriminated against, developing a chatbot in order to enable people in similar circumstances to connect with each other.

Lara said, “I have been planning this event since January so it was really exciting to see this all come together. It’s important to be focusing on AI-focused challenges to reflect how society is changing through advances in technology. In the future, we will be using AI more to solve world problems. Teenagers today will be leading the development of AI in society and I wanted to organise this event to give the opportunity to start developing AI projects that could change the world. Thank you to my teachers for all the support they gave me and my team in realising this initiative”.

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