It has been an amazing experience collaborating with e-Zest on the #HackathonPune these past 3 years. This coming weekend, I will be returning to India to co-host the Megathon 2019 in Pune with e-Zest, which includes the fourth edition of #HackathonPune as well as the #StartupBootup, an interactive workshop for aspiring entrepreneurs on how to build a successful startup.
The #HackathonPune has always been based on themes that are intended to inspire developers to create innovative solutions that use emerging technology to better society. Keeping in line with this, the #HackathonPune was focused on Bots in 2016, Social Impact in 2017, and Blockchain in 2018.
This year, the theme is ‘AI for Social Good’-in Education, Environment, Agriculture, Government and Healthcare. The aim is for developers to use AI to create innovative solutions that will positively impact society at large and not to upsell you on an ecommerce app or sell more ads.
We hear a lot about AI in both the mainstream as well as technical media. More often than not we hear bad news: AI is coming for our jobs, AI will take over the whole industry, or worse yet, AI will wipe out humanity a la the Terminator. Or that China is using AI to suppress their population. While all of those things can happen, we at e-Zest and Fresco believe that there is an alternative scenario we should focus on: AI for Social Good.
If the technical community bands together now, we can build better, more impactful AI solutions that benefit all of humanity. We can change the future by building impactful solutions now. It begins here and starts now. Some examples of using AI for Social Good include use of machine learning and other techniques to further advances in healthcare, improve quality and access of education, increase efficiency of financial and transport services, and improve transparency and efficiency in government services as well as citizen engagement.
For those new to AI, the hackathon is a great opportunity for you to learn about AI, as no prior experience is needed, and the solutions don’t need to incorporate a massive amount of AI to be successful. And for those of you experienced in AI, it is just as great an opportunity to build something of value as well as share your knowledge.
I’m really excited to see what innovative solutions and brilliant ideas will be presented. Hope to see you there!