Creating the future now

Students from San Clemente High School, Mayfield and St Mary’s Catholic College, Gateshead came together to participate in the State Final of the Microsoft Artificial Intelligence for Good Hackathon.

The AI for Good Challenge aims to support teachers in enabling high school students to learn the basic concepts of Artificial Intelligence.

Equipped with these new skills, students are challenged to come up with a creative idea for how AI could be used to help make a difference in the world.

It’s not about knowing how to code AI, but understanding AI and creating concepts around how to use this new technology.

Isaac Petherbridge and Aidan Barlow from San Clemente and Jack Kelly from St Mary's worked together to create a proposal, which was chosen out of submissions across NSW and ACT to reach the State Finals.

Their project proposal was to use both drone and AI predictive technology to gather, collate and analyse data on the health of the aquatic plant and animal species, pH, salinity, algae, water level and water flow levels of the Murray-Darling River system.

AI would then be used to predict outcomes and aid in developing sustainable management strategies to react in real-time to address the rapidly evolving environmental crisis the river is facing.   

The team presented their proposal in front of the Microsoft judges and outlined the AI ethical principles of the project including fairness, inclusiveness, reliability and safety, privacy, transparency and accountability.

The project also outlined the use of Microsoft Cognitive Services such as vision, search and decision-making and they explained how their AI project was both different from other projects and how it would make a difference environmentally, economically, culturally and generationally.  

Judges on the day included Steve Miller, Microsoft's Director of Education, Steven Loquet, NSW Department of Education and Training’s Chief Information Officer, Lee Hickin, Microsoft’s Chief Technology Officer, Kathy Belov, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Global Engagement) and Professor at University of Sydney and Joe Rasmussen, MOQ Digital’s Business Development Manager.

The team managed to place fourth out of 584 teams, which is an outstanding effort!

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