160 girls, 60 teachers, and one amazing event: Girls in STEM AI Bootcamp

Robotic hand next to child's hand

The full potential of artificial intelligence (AI) has yet to be unlocked, and today’s youth, the future generation, have a crucial role in developing AI for global good.

Microsoft’s goal is to make sure that every student on the planet is empowered to achieve more, by opening doors and giving opportunities to those who have the courage to believe in themselves, and want to create technology to help society for the better.

In August, Microsoft launched Alice envisions the future 2018 – the very first Girls in STEM AI bootcamp – with a focus on building diversity and ensuring that every single attendee left as a Microsoft AI ambassador.

Scheduled to inspire
The four-day event was packed with workshops, panels, the latest tech, and above all, the goal to spark the passion for STEM subjects in our future generation.

A total of 15 speakers and 20 trainers came together to inspire the girls and 60 visiting teachers, with a focus on the incredible powers and solutions that AI can bring to the world.

Some of Microsoft’s brightest minds took to the stage to share their knowledge and experience. Live-streamed for remote viewers, topics ranged from the future of AI, to the era of IoT and AI for social good. The speakers too, no doubt, learnt a thing or two from the younger minds in the audience to boot.

The workshops catered to people across a spectrum of experiences, from beginner and intermediate, to advanced. All attendees were given the chance to have hands-on experience with the latest tech, letting them see the true potential that AI can offer society – and their future careers.

Microsoft’s teams from ChatBot, Lego Mindstorms, MakeCode, micro:bit, Minecraft, and A.I. in Office365 adapted each workshop and spent three days educating the students and teachers on the impact of Microsoft’s work in the world, and the potential for each individual to build upon it to make their own contributions to society.

When one student asked if girls could build robots during one of the workshops, the importance of the AI Bootcamp was driven home – it’s events like these that help break down barriers and encourage young girls and women to follow their STEM passions.

One panel of inspirational women drove this point home even further, discussing the value of working with the right teams, the importance of diversity, and the lessons that can be learned from failure.

The Hackathon Day saw seven different challenges take place, based on team collaboration, image classification, using machine learning to predict chances of breast cancer, a bot service to support doctors with most commonly asked questions, and an Azure service to monitor IoT devices.

In addition to soaking in information on AI and tinkering with tech, all attendees also rolled up their sleeves and came together with official partner IKEA, to build furniture for people in need – specifically, refugees and schools, courtesy of homeproject.org.

Seen as a huge success by all who attended, this first AI Bootcamp is only one piece of the puzzle. We must all do more to encourage the future generation to embrace technology, and inspire them to use it for good.

Young girls especially need more role models for STEM subjects, which is why Microsoft is proudly continuing to work on events such as this to inspire as many young minds as possible.

For more information, please visit Alice Envisions the Future.



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