Tara  has been the servant leader with Iridescent for more than 13 years. Through her initiatives with NGOs and foundations, Tara’s work has increased access and awareness for coding skills in developing nations, such as Bolivia, Pakistan, and Cameroon. In this episode of the HumAIn Podcast, Tara shares her take on what is missing for underrepresented communities in technology.  

Through her community efforts at Iridescent, we explore the inaugural AI Family Challenge, how technovation has increased access for girls who code and what indicators are required for lifelong learning. Tune into this episode of HumAIn podcast. 

This is HumAIn a weekly podcast focused on bridging the gap between humans and machines in this age of acceleration. My name is David Yakobovitch and on this podcast, I interview experts in sociology, psychology, artificial intelligence researchers on consumer facing products. A consumer-facing companies to help audiences better understand AI and its many capabilities. If you like the show, remember to subscribe and leave a review. 

David Yakobovitch 

Welcome to the HumAIn podcast as always. My name is David Yakobovitch and I’m here to speak with you about how to bridge the gap on humans and machines in this fourth industrial revolution. Today’s guest speaker is Tara Chklovski, who is the founder and CEO of Iridescent. I’ve actually had the pleasure to connect with her and her team a few months ago on the AI family challenge. And there’s so much opportunity for what’s going on AI today and such an honor to have you on our show. 

Tara Chklovski 

Thank you, David. This will be fun. I’m looking forward, especially someone who judged our AI family challenge first year’s mission. So thank you. 

David Yakobovitch 

Thank you so much and for listeners who don’t know what is the AI Family Challenge is, why don’t you tell us a little bit about it? 

Tara Chklovski 

The AI Family Challenge is the first program for children and parents. So really a whole family to gain a better sense of how their world is being shaped by AI and in a very practical way. So as a family, you can spend some time bonding together and learning about different AI technologies, image recognition systems in your phone and in your car and your nest, and actually get to make your own version or our own prototype that can tackle something that has been frustrating you, or that is a big problem in your community. 

So this was a competition that we ran last year and we had about 7,500 children and parents across 70 locations, 13 countries really come together to firstly identify problems that are big and then try to create innovative AI based prototypes. So it’s been very, very inspiring to see the sort of the world of new ideas that are coming out of places that are usually not part of the AI conversation. 

David Yakobovitch 

I thought that was so interesting to be one of these judges if you will for the AI family challenge. I believe I was reviewing team members from Asia, from Africa, from the Middle East, from all over. And it was so fascinating to see that in traditionally communities that are not empowered by that technology, that you can still have the best ideas, even without the software being at your hands. 

Tara Chklovski 

That’s why it was an inspiring experience for us, because these are people that are curious about their world.They definitely hear about AI, but not in a way that is accessible or that invites them to be part of the conversation. And you may play around with your face recognition system on your phone, but you never think that I could make something better because you don’t know how it works. 

There is an opportunity to learn about it, It unlocks a whole other part of your brain where you can use it.

It is relevant to your local community, what comes out of all of this is these very rich ideas that are tackling local issues that are very interesting to all of us, because they’re very fresh. 

They’re not part of our media the same examples that are rotated over and over again.And you get tired of hearing them, but you’re hearing sort of perspectives from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Bolivia, and of course all across the U.S and especially from participants and people that you don’t normally associate. 

So 70% of our parents, the adults that came were mothers, grandmothers, aunts, older sisters, that came because maybe the leader of the program was a woman and they were inspired, but these are these kinds of interesting network effects that require quite a bit of work, but result in these very rich, unusual ideas coming to the forefront.

David Yakobovitch 

Taking it to the forefront of the family is such an essential part for that understanding of how we’re bridging the gap during different ages with AI.

My grandparents, those who were still around, they now have iPhones. They now have all this technology at their fingertips and these phones actually have AI sensors and AI chips, if you will, that can run smart processes. 

But what’s more exciting than just having the technology is when you get the multi-generations together, you get the kids who are in primary and secondary school. You get the parents who are of a different generation. And even the grandparents, you have such a wealth of diversity and understanding of how the world around us works.

The tracks that it’s these new ideas that have spawned, and it’s no longer that ideas have to happen in Silicon Valley in New York city. But that’s, these 13 plus countries that were part of the AI Family Challenge. Could you say that they are the next new Silicon area? 

Tara Chklovski 

And maybe, and that’s not even maybe the goal, right. That you’re trying to replicate Silicon Valley. It’s more sort of, even on an individual level that success for us is each person, the daughter, the son, the mother, the father have a strong sense of agency where if you see a problem in your world, you’re like, this is my responsibility.

There’s an option to sort of bypass it and say, the system is bad, but there’s another option, which is sort of the entrepreneurial mindset. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to be in Silicon Valley to sort of replicate innovation, but it’s more. Each individual, our citizens can have a stronger voice, can have a stronger influence, a stronger sense of agency.

Even in countries where women are not supported as much, if you can see changes in whether the girl has a stronger voice in her family even is a bigger part of the decision-making, that’s a very big win. It doesn’t have to be, this company was launched public or whatever it is. Like that’s one metric, but our metrics of success are, are we empowering individuals.

David Yakobovitch 

And the metrics of success. So we can look at it in that sense of agency. And that’s so important because we’re all finding our voice in her life. And as we go through our journey, we discover more about who we are.

And so I’ve been through that journey. You’ve been through that journey and the hundreds and hundreds of participants in found a challenge have discovered that whether some of the big takeaways or aha moments you’ve seen from some of the leading results that the leading participants.

Tara Chklovski 

So that we’ve just sort of wrapped up a pretty deep data analysis of all of this looking at different slices of the data.So the overall finding was that these communities they’re very similar, despite pretty large differences in sort of socioeconomic status. Some of these countries that have very low human development indices are sort of defined by the UNDP, their agricultural communities. But then in the same group, you also have the US and Spain as two pretty developed countries.

But the interesting commonality is that each one of these participants has. Here is a risk taker and that’s very unusual. They have been open to this new experience. They took a risk on us. They’re like this; they’re unusual because very few people would sign up for an AI education competition.

And it’s kind of cool to see what is the persona of each of these disciplines.

And one of the big findings was that parents really learned a lot about their children because they had a particular idea because it’s rare for a child and a parent to work on a problem together. And neither of them knows anything about it. they’re both learning at the same time. The parent got to see their child in a completely different light and the child got to see the parent in a completely different light.

And one of the things that the parents came away with understanding is that they actually do not know how to support their children, persist through a hard problem, a technical problem over a long period of time. This was a 15 week program. And this is something for us as an organization to improve our parents support techniques.But most of us watch YouTube videos. I need ice cream. If we are given the chance, very few of us sort of say, okay, I’m going to build technologically sort of innovative project and prototype because it’s hard work. And how do you keep motivating? Each other to do that. So parents came away learning that.

The children have a ton of ideas. They are awesome. They love their children. They’ll come closer as a family, they’ve bonded, but they need more strategies to help their children persist. And that was something very interesting. I did not expect that coming out of the data, but we have some hard statistics as well. Then above like 95% of the parents think that their child is capable of creating something that’s AI based in the future, that this is something definitely a relevant career for them,definitely realize that this is where they have to go in the future. 

Many of them, especially the families in Bolivia came away realizing that they have a very strong role to play in bringing more programs like this for the community. So they’re sort of citizenship and leadership. Their sense of ownership really increased after the program, which is a result of bringing the families together as a community. This was not an individual program that is run by individual families, but a lot of work went into bringing them together. So you see the power of group action. So these are some of the positive findings out of work that we did.

David Yakobovitch 

And when you have countries like Bolivia with all the children and the parents, you almost see,in the AI family challenge and imagine a role reversal occurring from the child being supported by the parent. But the parents actually, instead of taking on that action to see how a child can leave initiatives. Becoming a leader at the young age and They’ve done this here in the, in the challenge in many hundreds of groups. 

And what’s next from a support perspective is They are in a lot of under-representative communities, frontier nations, without necessarily all the resources to start coding programming and AI, myself as an educator in the space, I teach a lot of pro bono and get back to the different communities. And I’m always thinking. Now, how do we bridge that gap? In fact, one way. So three of the Sinead podcasts, we feature in Sameer Maskey from Fuse Machines. And,they’re working on an initiative of having 10,000 people in under-represented communities, learning AI in the next couple of years.

And I’m just trying to think for your deaths and the community, what can they do to then empower all your families? To become activists and organizers who continue with that voice. And that’s just the thought process on that support. And is that something with, giving Raspberry Pi, kids getting from books? What does that look like for all the participants?

Tara Chklovski 

So, the other program that we run is Technovation challenge, which is similar in sort of the roots of it, where girls find problems in their communities and create mobile apps. And it’s for all the students and they work not with their parents, but with mentors, And that program we’ve been running for nine years across more than a hundred countries.

And we’ve learned quite a bit about what works and what doesn’t work and not every underserved country or developing countries the same. That’s why we started to sort of slice and dice the regions and the human development index is a useful framework where. There are more than like 170 sort of metrics.

There were things like, what is the percentage of people that live under a dollar a day? What is the penetration of the internet? How many women have access to the internet? How many people have mobile phones? So all of these are elements that go into understanding where should we try to find partners and where are they?

Local initiatives and resources that can really sort of give us a sort of tailwind. That’s sort of the next stage of our work, where we are. Not just saying here’s an online curriculum and they actually provide funding for each of our partners. And we, as an organization are trying to be much more strategic in where we work.

So we would say maybe 50% of our effort goes into collaborations with the local government is providing some degree of support in terms of infrastructure or that there’s access to the internet, or the data is not that expensive. And then, maybe 10% of our effort is in countries where there’s absolutely no support system.

And we recognize that. That effort will take maybe 10 years where we are building local capacity training, the parents, the teachers, and then trying to figure out where we bridge the equipment gaps. But this year we worked with a lot of science and technology centers. So for instance, in Bolivia, we worked with the Bolivia tech hub and they have the infrastructure.

So they bring. The raspberry pie and access to Chromebooks and through the funding that we provided, they bought hotspots and data. It’s a collaborative effort. In Pakistan, we worked with the Pakistan STEM program. So these are all things that we are learning as we offer this program out to the world.

David Yakobovitch 

what’s amazing is hearing the technology that’s being implemented through success stories that you’re having in countries like Bolivia and Pakistan, and then realizing with your tech innovation initiative.That developers in 2019 are not the same as developers in 2009. So, back then you need a computer to develop apps and build prototypes.

But today actually with a regular Android smartphone, there are Python emulators on your phone. As you can code the whole app, run it, see what happens. So that’s super powerful. One of my colleagues even mentioned that their parents were in Bangladesh and they weren’t in a region that historically did not have technology. And there you had Skype, they already had a computer that was letting you. Did he have a chat with family halfway around the world? So with ingenuity and with creativity, there’s going to be a lot of new opportunities in the tech space.

It’s also to build tech leaders today in New York city. I’m involved in a lot of education initiatives where I based a lot on this. Also working with women in tech and a women code and girls who code and you work a lot with these communities as well, and have discovered this you work with, or that Iridescent. And wanted to hear more of your thoughts on what do you think about diversity in AI and the direction that diversity has been taking maybe in the U.S for maybe globally? 

Tara Chklovski 

That’s a pretty sort of, it’s a topic that comes up like a million times every day. And it’s a core part of our mission. Our mission is to work with groups that have typically not had access to resources and opportunities and to empower them, that they can be leaders, but using technology, which is an amplifier. It’s a core part of our mission. What do about the sort of diversity conversations?

They’re narrow many times and usually these things become like checkboxes that we need a person of color, we need a woman, we need a woman of color. And for me, what’s more interesting is diversity of thought. You could have someone who’s a person of color, but has actually had a pretty privileged background.

They will think in very similar ways to a person who is white. And so the more interesting thing to me is your intellectual sort of diversity and the perspectives that you bring and the training and the experience that you’ve had. And that requires a deeper level of discussion and questioning and curiosity, and are not there yet, but some definitely hear that it’s the right thing to be doing. And I just visa wise because companies are interested in increasing their diversity, but I want to move on. We got to actually do the work.

David Yakobovitch 

You have to do the work. And,I work through a lot of my primary work with foundations and workforce initiatives as well. You even see in the United States, a lot of these initiatives. Company says we’re willing to give the funds and we’re willing to be part of the conversation, but it often seems to STEM from corporate social responsibility, right. It doesn’t necessarily steem too much more like let’s then hire and retain and attract talent that can be intellectually at the same caliber.

No matter their background, especially from other privileged countries and frontier communities. And the conversation needs to change. I actually spoke in one of my previous podcast with the guest Kristen Kehrer, she’s in Boston. And when we talk a lot about education and how education has moved online. We’re seeing, it’s becoming very digital, very digital, very quickly. It’s scaling we’re in a zero marginal cost society. And that creates opportunity. 

For individuals, especially those young who are trying to learn who may not have these resources today. And so I’m tying this all in to get it here. You said like, it’s time for us to move on and change that dialogue around diversity. What are some of your thoughts on new strategies or what’s next? 

Tara Chklovski 

Sort of sitting down and listing what we don’t know. And what we don’t know is a lot about how humans learn, really. And it’s not about whether you’re black or brown or white. They’re more about how you’re similar and really the hard part is that we actually don’t know how to build or develop self-driven learners. Like we do have a pretty good understanding of how we can capture human attention. 

We have these addictive sort of Facebook feeds and things like that, but anytime there is a pretty complex technical problem that requires hundreds and thousands of hours of deliberate practice. We just resort to sort of drill and kill methods, like, okay, you have to go through school and you have to go through school because it’s good for you. And especially if you’re poor, you have no choice. We expect for people to be much more disciplined than those of us who are more privileged.

That doesn’t make sense. So the questions have to come down to more sort of less about what do underserved communities need, but rather. What makes us all human and what are rarely similar and where are the gaps in our understanding? And a lot of it is around self-motivated learning and how you drive resilient, like long-term interest in technical content because technical content is slightly different from say other arenas where you have to develop sort of the basics. 

And you have to sort of practice the basics and then apply it and then sort of develop mastery and that’ll take you quite a few hours, this cannot be done in an hour of code. So it’s a whole, another thing to get someone excited about STEM and my worry with a lot of these CSR initiatives is that these are run on one year grant cycles. Now in one year, you’re not going to change anybody’s life. And so you show sort of a pre and post gain in STEM interests, but that doesn’t mean anything.

So the question is, how does this interest change over a period of 10 years while nobody’s going to fund you for 10 years? And so those are the kinds of things that we as a society, the conversations around diversity and inclusion are very important and they are resulting in a lot of funding that’s going into this, but we have to ask some people questions.

David Yakobovitch 

Yeah. So the grant cycle is quite interesting. So it’s usually one year, sometimes you get locked into the three, four year plus if you’re with certain organizations, but you bring up some very fast thing words here: resiliency, persistence mastery. And they’re tied very much hand in hand, like with resiliency does come mastery with persistence on learning and being self-motivated comes mastery. And is that something that has to be taught or is that something that we have to inspire people to be self-motivated? 

Tara Chklovski 

It’s both right then it’s part of it’s not as if you were born. So there’s this professor of psychology professor Albert Bandura, and he’s done some very sort of seminal work in this. There are four factors that actually result in intrinsic motivation or a self-driven learner. And he believes that there’s no such thing as intrinsic motivation and the four factors are. It’s followed so that I keep it in the way. I sort of remind myself as for ease to self-efficacy because self-efficacy, is that confidence that I can do something and makes me persist.

So the four A’s are as follows. The first is exposure. There’s so much hype around role models and yes, it’s important, but it’s only one small piece of this. So exposure to someone who you respect. It doesn’t have to be of the same gender. It doesn’t have to be a person who looks like you. It doesn’t have to be the same person or the same color, but just someone whom you’ve respect shows that you can do something that’s difficult. And this is meaningful. So there was the whole sort of excitement around digital badges, but it also flopped and the reason was if somebody doesn’t care about what the digital badge is selling, you’re not going to be motivated by that digital badge.

That’s a very important point that a human being that we trust and respect has to say that program is really important and this is why. And so that’s to ensure that that’s valuable. So that’s one, the second is the experience itself. So you have to make it very easy to get started. It’s like a safe sandbox and video games do it incredibly well. And that’s why millions and millions of people spend billions of hours playing video games. And so the experience is really, really important and it cannot be repetitive. So if you have the same challenge over and over again, in many sort of basic academic apps are very literal that way, where you hit a challenge and then you hit the same thing and you get the reward.

And we get tired, extremely easily of predictable things. And so you want to make the experience very rich and scaffolded really well. And the third part is you need someone to believe in you. I call it expectations. And this is your cheerleader or someone who really believes that who has high expectations of you. And this could be a parent,  It could be a teacher and they don’t have to be technical. They just keep saying you can totally do it. You can totally do it. 

And even when you don’t, they believe in you, they believe in you. And then the last part is sort of, we’re not just brains, but we are a whole sort of physiological system of chemicals and hormones. And there’s the energy of the system. And if you’re hungry and sleepy and tired, you’re just not going to try something new. If you’re stressed, if you’re depressed. All of you, you’re just not going to act on stimuli. 

When for some people, depending on their past experiences, one of these factors would be smaller or larger or whatever, but whenever you sort of analyze why you interested in something, you realize that it’s one of these factors or really like two or more that are contributing to that.

And of course you can build and create. Learning environments that have all four and video games again, do this really well. So this can be totally taught. And then when they are working in harmony, that’s when you get very addicted to that experience, and then you become, you develop a new identity, I’m a maker, I’m a tinkerer.

I build robots, I fixed motorcycles or whatever it is, I’m an artist I write. So it takes quite a bit of time. So probably somewhere above a hundred hours or more to begin to sort of. Scratch the surface of a new identity. And then some will probably be depending on how technical the subject is probably between like thousands and thousands of hours to get, to become where it’s a core part of your identity, that this is who I am.But yeah, it’s totally teachable.

David Yakobovitch 

About teachable as lifelong learning and these words that you just shared with us, that you’ve talked about exposure and experience and expectation energy. Some of them are easier to resolve,exposure is co-location, it’s digitally connecting that there’s a lot of pieces that can fit there, experiences, the commitment it’s that persistence, the resiliency for the mastery expectations is that community,the teacher, the mentor, the parents, you have a support network, but actually one of the biggest missing pieces is the energy, even in.

Privileged communities. You have students who take the SAT and they just like, they do all nighters and they don’t have the right food and the right nutrition. But of course that’s not a common level of needs solving. The problem that needs solving is looking at the underprivileged communities, the frontier nations, like living in Pakistan and the sense that you even have a meal.

For your day so that you can be mentally focused to not have to worry about working or bringing home a paycheck so that you can learn tech and lift up your entire community. And I feel like that, am I right? Is that the missing piece? That’s still not fully solved. 

Tara Chklovski 

All the pieces are not fully solved. If a community is very in high need, you will not have any of those pieces. Although you may have the parent and that’s what we saw. So we had an amazing partner in Cameroon. She’s a researcher and she actually won a fellowship and she’s actually currently in the U.S but she runs this STEM program for the students in Yaounde, which is the capital of Cameroon.

And It’s on the outskirts of the area. It’s very agricultural. And she was saying that the families there are really worried about tomorrow’s meal. They do not know where their food is coming from. Forget about planning for the next year. And so when this program came, she was very worried that it would be sort of very wonky, but you’re saying she was very.

Intrigued and inspired by how the families valued this because it was their ticket out of the current state. So she was saying, so the families meet on Saturday mornings and many of them on the weekends they actually spent and children are a contributing part of the economy. So they actually go with their parents to the market, not, or to sell their wares.

They go out for aging, for food. So to spend the morning of Saturday, not doing that is a real sort of. It has real consequences, but you’re saying that was a very strong indicator of how much these families wanted to learn. And that story was powerful. And she was saying that. Because of the funds that we provided, the families, we, they got t-shirts that were sort of part of the program.

And she was saying one child started to cry because she’d never sort of been part of a prestigious group like this before. And so that is the extent of how these Pieces are missing, but it can be done. But it has to be done. It takes a tremendous amount of effort to find these partners, to train them, to run the program on the ground, to build a sense of community and then to come back next year and to continue the momentum, because it’s not as if They’ve reached a particular point. We just began to scratch the surface of this. 

That’s the challenge. People cannot comprehend trying to deal with all four at once. And that’s why organizations tackle one problem at a time or one solution at a time. And that’s why those things don’t work unless we don’t collaborate with other organizations.

So you cannot just say we’re going to launch videos of role models and it was going to change how they shouldn’t perceive things. No, that’s not going to do anything.There’ll be one part of this collective solution. And so that’s why it’s a pretty daunting task and non-profits burnout all the time.

In my 13 years of running Iridescent, I’ve seen so many nonprofits start and fail after seven, eight, nine years, because this is a start and for-profits have the same issue. This is a complex social issue with multiple factors. So it’s taken time to try to understand which ones we should tackle and would do everything at the same time. 

David Yakobovitch 

You’ve been running an amazing program at Technovation. Now for nine years, you’ve seen a lot of efforts go in and change and evolve with these programs and that growth. And so with your other program, AI family challenge, it’s inaugural it’s a new year and we have now these final teams.

And for those who are listening to the episode, I believe May 18th, 2019, just in a few days that the grand finale is happening in San Francisco and so much effort. So many strong indicators, athletes, this program, what does it mean to you and what do you see as some of those outcomes coming up in the next few days?

Tara Chklovski 

It’s nerve wracking and it’s been really cool to see how it takes a few believers. Google was one of our first funders of this program last year and this was our inaugural year, but we’ve spent 13 years working with families and parents in much shorter chunks, never in sort of a large scale, never in AI, never on such a global level.

And people just didn’t think that it could work. And so it was sort of art. Technology corporation partners that believed that and taught that this was important, then it was worth investing in. That’s the only reason why this was able to be launched. And then of course, all the community partners agreeing to run this, they did all the hard work.

It’s a tremendous amount of gratitude and it’s very cool to see that. There’s a lot of sort of nervousness and a lot of negative things everywhere all the time, but you have to sort of look at all these amazing human beings everywhere that believe that we can do better. And that we have higher expectations of us and our societies.

So that’s why I’m running this nonprofit and sort of trying to solve these hard problems is very draining. And, but it’s moments like this when it’s like,when you can look back and reflect like, it is valuable. It is making a change in the world that it’s refueling for me and for my team as well.  May 18th would be something special. Where would you get families coming from? All these different countries that have gone through a common experience. And that’s the power of technology. That brings people together that would never have come together.

David Yakobovitch

I can only apply all the efforts from everything you’ve done that over 13 years, like Iridescent and higher technology corporation partners have been behind the scenes, hiring you to have all this progress and for me as one of the participants in the AI family challenge of judging and seeing all these teams, one of the aha moments I love this year also as an educator is how computer vision was so central to a lot of these projects.

It was such an aha moment in such an awareness for families because the big topic in 2019 seems to be AI ethics. And the AI ethics is often around computer vision and the proudest projects and not knowing what goes on behind the scenes. And I really loved projects, I’m one of them, I worked on just identifying food in images,versus things that may be spoiled.

Other ones are certain images that have electronic parts that you could salvage, versus not having. So some of these projects are very fascinating from all the families. And that is one of the missing pieces that we’re beginning to start to solve. And perhaps you’ve talked about it with some of the teams and you’re seeing those saying, we want accountability.

We want transparency and this all starts with ethics for projects. So wanted to hear some of your thoughts around that. 

Tara Chklovski 

The first year we just did not have the time to really go deep a224nd to sort of create the curriculum, we put together some curriculum based on our best ideas and just jumped right in.

And then when we were sort of debriefing after the season was over, we realized we needed to bring in sort of the big guns. So we put together an AI steering committee of researchers, roughly 25 AI researchers from all around the World, asking them to review the curriculum and the impact data and some of the problems that we saw coming out of the submissions.

There’s a big section now that we are going to be including in the curriculum for the next season. Ethics is a very charged term because it immediately sort of has a negative tone to it now with all the media coverage. But it’s more about thinking deeply about the product that you’re building. And at the core of it, it even comes down to, this is a great educational experience where you have time to pause and reflect even on your own thinking, because rarely do we get to do that as individuals. And sort of developing your own self awareness. So why did you think that way, what contributed to you sort of having a particular, stereotypical idea?

So we’re putting in checklists and guidelines when you’re creating datasets and how you’re going to collect this data. And it’s a very unique experience where individuals like normal human individuals who would never be product innovators and developers are now being asked to develop products that go and touch many people. They have to go through some of these sort of things. Processes. And it’s our responsibility as curriculum developers to empower them with the right tools. And so we are trying to stay ahead of this field and stay connected to all the cool things that are happening. The coolest thing that I heard recently was this thing called the data nutrition project, because it’s coming out of MIT.

Where They want every data set to have sort of like a nutrition label that says what is in your data set. And that’s great. It’s not coming at it from a negative angle that you created a bias data said no, but okay, this went into it. What purpose are you going to use this data set for? Think about who your audience will be and then does it supply. So it’s a very, it’s a neutral way of empowering people to think a little bit about all these implications, because we are all inherently biased. That’s how we operate, but we can always improve. 

David Yakobovitch

You can always improve and lifelong learning, requires AI and AI also requires lifelong learning in both parts and  that bias is some of the aha moments that were also identified again in these AIFC, this AI family challenge projects where families would realize, it’s actually really challenging to train somebody systems, to have a good resiliency and to have a good result that could be consistent over time.

One of the big myths I like to dispel, for those who are seeing. Self-driving cars coming onto the road and these apps that seem to have perfect results. Every single time it’s not all done by a machine. A lot of humans, a lot of people training and supporting a lot of teams.

That is one of the big takeaways that it’s a partnership between humans and machines. It’s a partnership between human and AI and it needs to be a global conversation. And, whether it’s through video games, whether it’s through learning, whether it’s through participating in competitions, where the exposure is offered, each and every learner is going on that journey and the work you’re doing is so instrumental there. So one of my final questions for today is what’s next? You have all these amazing initiatives in education, but what’s on the horizon. 

Tara Chklovski 

Creativity. So I’ve been doing a lot of sort of studying and thinking about how we can empower our participants to be more creative, more innovative.

And there’s room here where we, as the curriculum, developers and developing sort of the educator training programs can better arm the parents and the teachers. 

To support students in sort of thinking more creatively. And there’s actually quite a bit of work done in the creativity and engineering space where there are better rubrics and heuristics for problem finding, because that has been one area that has been very challenging.

Most individuals have not been asked to come up with new problems to solve, you’re given a problem to solve. So it is a very uncomfortable situation to be in. So yes, if you’re a risk taker, you will thrive in that. But most of us are not risk takers, but you can be taught these kinds of things. And so we are trying to figure out how we can make this process the first step of starting, less uncomfortable and how can we, what are some prompts?

What has frustrated you recently? That’s a simple question. And so you can begin to go down, but as the curriculum developers, we can provide some of these structures so that we can help you come up with better problems. Because a lot of the times you come up with problems that you hear in the media.

These are not things that are truly problems. And so if your problem itself is very mundane, of course your solution will be mundane. So that is our next sort of frontier where it’s not just, we want to empower the participant. We’re doing that, the next step is for them to really contribute innovative ideas to this global conversation.

David Yakobovitch

I cannot agree more. Teaching a lot and data science and working in industry. When I have students who do capstone projects and they come up with ideas for me, I say, pick a moonshot challenge, pick a problem that’s so big that I don’t really care if you have to solve it yet.

You’re gonna learn the tools to get there. And you can dissect that problem to smaller milestones that you’ll start to achieve and you’ll make a difference. And that difference can be local to your community. And that scales up right to whole countries, all continents. And before you know it, your impact lifts up your family, lifts up your community and AI everywhere.

And that’s the direction we’re moving. And this conversation today that we’re having, Tara, is so fascinating. Lifting up everyone. And so I really appreciate you for being here on the HumAIn podcast. Thanks so much for everything you do and looking forward to catching up.

Tara Chklovski 

Awesome. Thank you, David. This was a fun conversation. 

David Yakobovitch

That’s it for this episode of HumAIn. I’m David Yakobovitch. And if you enjoyed the show, don’t forget, that’s a click subscribe on Apple podcasts or wherever you are listening to this. Thanks so much for listening and I’ll talk to you in the next one.