How can we democratize the creation and use of artificial intelligence in an effective way?
One way is through Saturdays.AI, a collaborative project-based non-profit which was founded in Barcelona in 2018. This innovative and ambitious initiative was created as a way to democratize AI by bringing it to cities all over the world and inspiring everyone to participate in creating AI projects for social good.
Saturdays.AI has already expanded into more than 25 cities worldwide, one of which is Alicante, and is growing constantly. You can learn more about Saturdays.AI, and see a list of all the currently participating cities, on their website.
Saturdays.AI – Empowering the next generation of AI professionals
One of the key missions of Saturdays.AI is democratization through the elimination of AI-related biases. According to many experts bias based on factors such as economic status, age, race and gender is one of the key challenges of AI. This often results in some demographic groups unfairly receiving greater advantages from AI than others.
To help combat this, we need more diverse groups of people, from all social backgrounds, creating the AI algorithms to be used for the society of the future. Saturdays.AI is working toward achieving this goal by providing everyone with equal opportunities to get involved with AI.
Saturdays.AI is a program that, over the course of a series of Saturdays, works with residents of local communities to educate them on how to use artificial intelligence technologies to create their own AI-related projects.
Miguel Guerrero, one of the co-founders of Saturdays.AI, shared these comments when I asked what he likes most about this project:
“I keep marveling myself on how, when given the right tools and motivation, people are able to achieve great things, more often than not, beyond what they thought they were able to do.”
He added that there have been a number of valuable projects that have come out of Saturdays.AI.
“Saturdays.AI has been held in several cities and there have been some amazing projects, like a humanitarian early warning system of immigrants adrift on rafts in the Mediterranean, a predictor of medical complications in emergency room patients, and a system that recommends recharging stations for electric cars along their routes.”
It goes without saying that these types of projects could be extremely beneficial for society, and hopefully institutional leaders and politicians will recognize their value so that they can be developed even further.
Saturdays.AI Comes to Alicante
Over the course of twelve Saturdays, several people participated in the Saturdays.AI program in Alicante. They were divided into teams, each of which worked on an AI project with the objective of having the potential for social impact. At the end of the twelve-week program, Saturdays.AI held a Demo Day, so that each team could present a summary of its project.
Saturdays.AI Team Presentations
I had the pleasure of attending the Alicante Saturdays.AI Demo Day and observing the teams’ presentations. All of them did great work and created AI models that could be used for social good. Several teams stated that their biggest challenge was being able to locate and access enough good quality data. Below is a summary of each of the different teams, their presentations, and some quick comments based on my observations and impressions. Although most of the projects were «proof of concepts,» they were still quite interesting and unique.
Team 1: Predictive Model to Analyze Alicante’s Air Quality
Team members: Jose Francisco Caro Martínez, José Joaquín Callado Leal, Ernesto Tomás Tenza and Antonio Sánchez Zaplana
Quick comments: Extremely beneficial environmental use case and something that will have a huge positive impact for the city when developed completely.
Team 2: Predictive Model of How Many People Will Enter Hospital on Any Given Day
Team members: Jesús David Sánchez Jaime, Miguel Angel Berna Alberola, Jose Maria Martinez Martinez and David Viejo Pomata
Quick comments: This team’s project, together with Team 1’s, were probably my favorites in terms of creating the greatest social impact. Team 2 collaborated with a hospital in the city of Elda and mentioned many useful ideas in its presentation.
Team 3: Predictive Model of Basal Insulin Dosages Required for Patients
Team members: Juan Enrique Martinez Navarro, Gilberto Jesús Brito and Pablo Aragonés
Quick comments: Another admirable medical project that will probably be very beneficial and help a lot of people.
Team 4: Diagnostic Model for Eye Disease
Team members: Jose Miguel Bolarin Guillén, Manuel Marco Sánchez, Florencio Florencio Navarro Nicolás, Jaime Martínez Verdú and Jordi Barrachina
Quick comments: Team used machine learning model called Regression and reported that their main challenge was insufficient data, as they were only able to obtain data from 50 users.
Team 5: Predictive Evolution Model of Home Purchases in Alicante
Team members: Gabriel de Bonís Tirado and Miguel Ángel Rodríguez Preciado
Quick comments: Team used machine learning model called Random Forest, and even though this use case may not be as important as some of the others, it could still provide a useful source of information for people to have access to.
Team 6: Sentiment Analysis Model of Twitter Tweets
Team members: Daniel Ortega Conesa, Pablo Tirado Hernández and David Andrés Martín-Pozuelo
Quick comments: Although this topic might not seem crucial or even helpful, it actually has a huge range of applications when done right. For example, it could be used to detect bullying or other types of misuse or abuse of Twitter communications. I personally wish there were more applications that could allow everyone to benefit from this type of analysis.
Team 7: Predictive Model of Wi-Fi Network Attacks
Team members: Luis Miguel Crespo Martínez, José Viejo Huerta and Rafael Sirvent Giner
Quick comments: The team presented some alarming statistics on the recent rise in cyberattacks. This project will be extremely useful and beneficial for our society, as this is a very important issue.
Team 8: Predictive Model of Solar Panels for Self-Consumption
Team members: Juan Daniel Martínez Blasco, Francisco José García Ramón, Aitor Salgado Molina and Juan Manuel Martínez Puig
Quick comments: Another environmentally important project which will hopefully be developed further, as currently only 3% of the electricity in Spain is produced by solar energy.
All the presentations were interesting and hopefully this type of initiative will generate more attention in local and international communities, as we need more people from all walks of life working to apply AI in real life cases.
Saturdays.AI, together with the opening of Accenture’s Advanced Technology Center, will pave the way for making Alicante an important location for technology events, and I hope we will see a lot of similar events in the future.
After the presentations there was also a roundtable discussion regarding the real- life use of artificial intelligence. Among those in attendance were Dr. Aurelia Bustos, cofounder & CTO of Medbravo; Antonio Rodes, director of Digital District ;Juan José García, president of ANBAN; and Pedro Pérez, vice president of ANBAN.
Antonio Rodes shared that the Valencian Community will have a clear artificial intelligence strategy and will highlight its importance in the future.
Dr. Bustos highlighted the importance of sharing medical data in order to have a sufficient basis for applying artificial intelligence models in medicine and stated that this is the biggest problem currently encountered by data analysts in the field. She also emphasized that there will be a profound transformation in health care thanks to the implementation of AI and that public administrations should facilitate this process.
Here you can see the video of the Saturdays AI Demoday in Alicante