Team HACKKR members (L-R) Ralph Gabriel Bautista, Carl Joshua Cabase, Raphael Mendoza, Hannah Coralde and Kaira Santos
MANILA, Philippines, 20 October 2022 — Filipino students and educators continue to embrace a culture of innovation to become enablers of positive change. By harnessing Microsoft solutions, today’s youth are empowered to think creatively on how they can build a better future for themselves and their communities. One such effort was the recently concluded Imagine Cup Junior (ICJ) AI for Good Challenge 2022, where several teams of junior and senior high school students from across the Philippines participated to develop solutions for real world challenges.
Utilizing a suite of applications provided by Microsoft and mentorship from Microsoft learning partner Hacktiv Colab Inc., Team HACKRR from the National University – Laguna (NU- Laguna) became one of the ten global winners of ICJ 2022. Their project, WTFact, is an AI-enabled plug-in for Microsoft Edge that detects and warns users against misinformation and fake news on the internet. The AI warns users of potential disordered information on media images and texts.
Clarissa Segismundo, Microsoft Philippines Education Programs Head said, “the issues we face today as a global community belong not only to professionals in the workforce, but to the youth as well. Likewise, the capacity to solve them is just as much in their hands as anyone else’s. That truth comes alive year on year through this competition and the incredible innovations that our participants create—reaffirming our commitment to continue being their partners and enablers as they empower tomorrow for our country.”
Since ICJ’s introduction in 2019, thousands of students have responded to the challenge of harnessing AI to solve the world’s most pressing issues.
“One problem here in the Philippines is fake news. It’s now more critical than ever for the public to have access to safe and reliable information, especially about public health, and politics,” said Carl Joshua Cabase from Team HACKRR. Their team was named after its members: Hannah Coralde, Carl Joshua Cabase, Kaira Santos, Ralph Gabriel Bautista, and Raphael Mendoza.
Ranked second place in the Philippines was Asia Pacific College’s Team AgrikultuRAM, for their AI project that uses image recognition to detect, combat and mitigate pest infestations on banana crops—helping maximize crop yield and lessen food loss.
Another team from NU Laguna, Team Polyglot, placed third for an application that translates natural disaster text advisories to the users’ chosen language. It aims to more effectively spread awareness, increase preparedness and reach more people in rural areas where internet access is not readily available.
Over thirteen teams from the Philippines, composed of students aged 13 to 18 years old, participated in Imagine Cup Junior 2022. Other global winners include teams from Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Nepal, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Vietnam.
The teams from the Philippines underwent an afterschool bootcamp with Microsoft learning partner, Hacktiv Colab Inc., who helped them refine and present their concepts. Hacktiv CEO Paul Soliman added that they are interested in investing in Team HACKKR’s WTFact, to help them turn their concept into reality.
Dedicated to changing the education landscape through empowering young minds, Microsoft has spearheaded several programs that merge learning with fun. Miriam College, Philippines was one of the grand prize winners of the 2021 Global Build Challenge, where students used Minecraft Education Edition to build a world in harmony with nature. Other local schools that made it to the global finalists are Temple Hill International School, De La Salle Santiago Zobel, and Makati Hope Christian School.