Twenty high school students in Philadelphia will have the opportunity this fall to learn about artificial intelligence as part of a free program funded by billionaire Mark Cuban’s foundation.
Applications are now being accepted for the AI Bootcamp, which targets girls, students of color, and youth from low- and middle-income families. The program is hosted locally by CSL Behring, a biopharmaceutical company based in the King of Prussia.
“We don’t want them to think AI is something other people are doing,” said John Thompson, global head of advanced analytics and artificial intelligence at CSL Behring. “We want them to realize that they can be part of the future of AI, that they can have a career in advanced analytics and AI.”
Participants, who must be in grades 9 through 12, will meet for five hours on four consecutive Saturdays from October 22 to November 12 for interactive lessons and lab exercises.
Thompson, who helped build the first machine learning networks at IBM, will lead the Philadelphia camp.
He said one of the first projects would be to create a chatbot – the virtual assistants that answer questions and prompts. A later challenge will be to create a voice for Bumblebee, a robot character in the “Transformers” universe.
“It’s important because these kids live with AI every day,” Thompson told Metro. “They talk to Siri. They receive recommendations from Netflix. They get personalized content from Facebook.
To make it easier for students to travel, CSL Behring’s tentative plan is to hold the in-person camp in University City, possibly on the Drexel University campus, Thompson said.
The Mark Cuban Foundation, led by entrepreneur, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and investor in “Shark Tank”, recruits local businesses to run the AI Bootcamps, which began several years ago.
In the fall, there will be 30 camps across the country, including a program in Atlantic City, according to the foundation.
CSL Behring, which hosted a bootcamp last year, conducts outreach with local nonprofits and schools, and the foundation reviews applications based on target demographics.
“We are looking for students who have a passion for technology or would like to learn more about what they could do in a technology-based career,” Carli Lidiak of the Mark Cuban Foundation said in an email. .
No previous experience or knowledge of AI or IT is necessary. To apply, go to www.markcubanai.org/application. The deadline for submission is September 1, and parents can also complete an application form for their children.