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Empowering Singaporean youths to be social changemakers with AI

Nurdianah Md Nur
Nurdianah Md Nur • 4 min read
Empowering Singaporean youths to be social changemakers with AI
Huawei and the East Coast GRC have selected 15 youths to go on a week-long AI immersion learning journey to inspire them to develop AI innovations for the community. Photo: Huawei
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Artificial intelligence (AI) promises transformative societal change but achieving that calls for more people to creatively use the technology to innovate. As a first step in enabling young people to become social changemakers, Huawei will be sending 15 Singaporean youths to a fully-sponsored immersive AI learning journey in Shenzhen, China.

Called the “East Coast Youth AI Immersion Learning Journey”, this initiative is part of the East Coast Plan’s Vibrant initiative, which partners with corporates to provide learning platforms for residents. In this case, the partnership with Huawei aims to equip students with the necessary AI development skills to innovate for the community.

“As part of the East Coast Plan, we focus on nurturing young residents and creating opportunities for youth to actively participate in the community they live in, contributing to the creation of a Caring, Vibrant, and Green East Coast. Our vibrant Lab @ East Coast partnership with organisations like Huawei and other corporates provides real-life platforms and channels to involve various stakeholders to work together to deliver value to residents. The partnerships also enable us to drive scale and impact,” says Jessica Tan, adviser to East Coast GRC Grassroots Organisations.

Maxi Wang, chief executive officer of Huawei International, comments: “Through the East Coast Youth AI Immersion Learning Journey, we aim to provide young adults in Singapore with invaluable learning opportunities that will equip them with the skills needed for industrial transformation in alignment with Singapore’s National AI Strategy.”

Getting familiar with AI in one week

The week-long AI immersion learning journey will take place from 10 to 16 June 2024. It will begin at the Huawei Singapore AI Lab, where participants will learn the basics of AI and explore AI tools under Huawei’s guidance. Participants can engage with Huawei’s AI experts, participate in tech talks, and gain insights into the tech giant’s cutting-edge AI solutions – all at Huawei’s global headquarters.

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For instance, they will get to see how AI solutions are used in real-life situations at the Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab and understand Huawei's contributions to digital power transformation. They will also get to learn about AI developments at the Huawei Dongguan R&D Base, apart from engaging in hands-on technical exercises to experience Huawei’s cloud services firsthand. 

Huawei and the East Coast GRC hope that participants will be spurred to develop AI innovations for the community through this learning journey. These AI projects could focus on enabling sustainable and green living, community well-being and care, a vibrant and inclusive community, a healthier East Coast, and a better-connected East Coast.

“We are optimistic that the students selected for the Youth AI Immersion Learning Journey will benefit from the learning experience. We look forward to the students leveraging the knowledge and experience from this learning journey on initiatives in the community to benefit the East Coast residents,” says Tan.

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Youths’ interest in AI

The 15 selected youths were chosen from 33 eligible candidates through a rigorous audition process conducted in April. Aged between 18 and 24, the selected youths showed a strong passion for AI and outlined their plans for initiating community AI projects. They represent diverse educational backgrounds, including junior colleges, Institute of Technical Education (ITE), and Institutes of Higher Learning.

Nur Umairah Bte Abd Ghani is among the selected youths. She believes having AI skills will be useful in her Biotechnology course in ITE and future work, and is keen to impart her knowledge to others. “I could contribute to the community by teaching others how to use AI to our advantage and in our daily lives. As someone passionate about helping seniors, I understand AI can be intimidating to use. I hope to demonstrate that learning something as beneficial as AI can be useful in real life,” she says.

Meanwhile, aerospace engineering undergraduate Peh Ming Han, who is interested in learning how AI can enable sustainability in the aviation industry shares: “I believe AI can transform how we approach environmental issues and create a more sustainable future. I am thrilled to learn more about Huawei's AI capabilities and brainstorm ideas with industry experts. This immersion learning experience provides a unique chance for personal development, allowing me to make a meaningful contribution to the progress of sustainable practices on the East Coast.”

As Benjamin Franklin once said: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”. By enabling active learning through the East Coast Youth AI Immersion Learning Journey, the selected youths will be able to develop a deeper understanding and mastery of AI, empowering them to innovatively use the technology to effect real-world changes for the community.

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