The Artificial Intelligence (AI) strand of our Stronger Together programme aims to develop specialised skills that will enable young leaders to design AI-based solutions to address social and climate challenges.
AI is seen as a technology that has the potential to solve some of the biggest global challenges facing us today. Young people have the power to influence the future of AI and whether it will be used as a tool for shaping solutions to real-world problems. It is a field in which they will be called upon to act critically, influence others and support wider society. It is crucial to channel our youth leadership work towards a field that will empower young people to be at the forefront of progress and make a positive impact through social action.
Through its activities, the project aims to engage young people in creative thinking and foster innovative ideas and solutions for pressing contemporary issues.
In addition, we seek to establish a platform for exchange between young leaders and national and European policymakers on the critical challenges and best practices in promoting artificial intelligence for the common good through the final policy dialogue we are planning (see below).
A series of activities took place in 2022–23, including focus groups, face-to-face hackathons, a study visit and a policy dialogue. These activities were conducted in partnership with the UNESCO International Research Centre on Artificial Intelligence (IRCAI), Microsoft Hellas and Cyprus, learn-tech.io, universities and local NGOs in Cyprus, Ireland, Greece, Hungary and the UK. The Stronger Together | Artificial Intelligence for the Common Good programme was shortlisted in the ‘Data for Good’ category of the Data IQ Awards.
Building on this success, in 2023–24 we plan to organise five face-to-face hackathon-style events in Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Ireland and the UK. At these events young people will explore how AI can serve as a tool to mitigate climate change and generate creative ideas centred around the theme of Green Cities.
Dates and countries of hackathon events:
- 1–2 November 2023, Ireland
- 17–19 November 2023, Cyprus
- 1–2 December 2023, UK
- 7–9 December 2023, Hungary
- 15–17 December 2023, Greece
Green Cities is the theme of this year’s hackathons. Participants will be invited to generate creative ideas aimed at improving people’s lives in urban areas by making them more sustainable and eco-friendly.
The British Council is joining forces with Microsoft Greece for the second year to deliver a hackathon on 15–17 December 2023, during which participants will have the opportunity to explore and showcase the power of artificial intelligence for the common good.
Who can apply?
Applicants must be aged 18–35, have a good understanding of English and a background in one of the following fields:
- Computer science/engineering/mathematics /architecture/urban development etc. – people who study or have a background in one of these fields.
- Climate activism/environmental or social sciences – people who support social justice, are proponents of environmental sustainability and are aware of the Sustainable Development Goals.
- Social innovation or entrepreneurship – people who design solutions that aim to improve the welfare and well-being of individuals and communities.
How it works
Participants will form teams and receive training from our UK expert Mike Lloyd on how they can use artificial intelligence to design solutions to the contemporary challenge of making cities sustainable. There is no need to be an expert on AI or on climate change/social justice topics to participate as the hackathon will involve training in fundamental AI principles. Mentors will support each team through the process.
The teams will then try to generate creative ideas and design a solution through AI tools to respond to the challenges of the global climate crisis, create an original idea and present it in front of a jury that will select a winning team. The winning team will be awarded with a study visit to Bristol in 2024.
When and where
The hackathon will take place on Friday 15, Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 December 2023 at INNOVATHENS, Technopolis, City of Athens (100 Pireos Street, 118 54 Athens).
Participants are expected to be present for the whole duration of the event.
How to apply
To take part in the hackathon, complete the online application form by Tuesday 5 December 2023 (23.59 Greek time).
Participation is free and participants will receive a certificate of attendance.
Our UK expert
Our trainer Mike Lloyd is a leading expert in technology and will assist teams in facilitating their ideas and transforming them into real solutions based on AI. Mike is a technology leader and Fellow of the British Computer Society. His passion lies in democratising Deep Tech. Mike started his career in engineering, spent a decade teaching in schools and at the Open University, and then held a senior international position at Microsoft for over a decade.
In September 2013, Mike founded learn-tech.io, a London-based technology start-up, with a focus on developing learning solutions in AI, the Internet of Things and climate change mitigation. Mike is the author of Schooling at the Speed of Thought – a guide to transforming education – and has designed numerous courses, including AI Demystified, AI for Leaders and Digital Technology Demystified.
He is also the inventor of ZEP Island, an educational game that helps people learn how technology and data can be used to mitigate climate change.
The hackathon is powered by Microsoft Hellas and is delivered in collaboration with Athena Research Center, Laboratory of Management Science and Technology, Department of Management Science and Technology, Athens University of Economics and Business, AD and PR Lab and CID-CCS lab, Department of Communication, Media & Culture, Panteion University and CREATIVE+ Entrepreneurship & Innovation Hub, Panteion University, under the auspices of the General Secretariat for Research and Innovation and the Ministry of Education, Religious Affairs and Sports. The hackathon is hosted at INNOVATHENS, Technopolis, City of Athens.
Study visit to Bristol, UK
The winning team of the hackathon will be awarded with a study visit to Bristol – one of the leading sustainable cities in the UK – in March 2024. Bristol was the first British city to be named European Green Capital, an award that celebrates and promotes innovative responses to urban environmental challenges. The winning team will have the opportunity to visit relevant institutions and expand their knowledge about how AI is being used to find solutions for sustainable urban living. Participants will also meet the winning teams from other countries where hackathons took place, facilitating the exchange of ideas and networking.
International youth policy dialogue event
During the study visit to Bristol, participants will be invited to join a youth policy dialogue event, where they will engage with experts in AI, sustainability and social impact, as well as policymakers, researchers, companies and academics. The purpose of the event is to explore the potential of artificial intelligence in creating social value and initiate discussions about the role of youth as leaders for social change and drivers of the new technological era.