AI: The defining tech of our time

We speak to Adeesh Goel, Programme Head of Inspirit AI Camps, a special holiday programme for students focused on artificial intelligence and run by Stanford University graduate students and alumni

What is the AI camp in a nutshell, how did it come about and what makes it unique?
AI Scholars is a two-week project-based intensive camp for high school students covering both the technical knowledge and the ethical considerations important to building powerful AI applications. Our instructors and students had a deeply enriching experience working together in Dubai during our last camp in December.

We came together with the goal of making AI education accessible and engaging to students across the world. Our team consists of graduate students and alumni at Stanford University, pursuing research and work in different areas such as neuroscience, bioinformatics, autonomous vehicles and more. We’re excited about the limitless potential to apply this technology for good. Moreover, teaching is our passion and we’re working on creative approaches to empower students to build AI projects and make an impact in their area of interest.

Two-week project-based intensive camp AI Scholars took place in Dubai last December with the aim of making AI education accessible for students

How has the camp been received and have you been impressed by students’ contributions?
The students who attended our last camp had an enriching experience and enjoyed both the technical as well as social components of the programme. This was evident from their feedback and their exuberance during presentation day.

Why is AI important and why should young people be studying it?
Artificial intelligence is the defining technology of our time, powering radical innovation across industries such as healthcare, education, transportation, government and more. It is already being applied to almost every discipline on the planet. It does not matter what career path a student wants to pursue, AI will certainly be a part of it. Doctors use AI in innumerable ways to diagnose diseases through x-rays, etc., journalists use it to detect fake news, and governments use it for the efficient dissemination of food supplies during disasters. Our young generation must be equipped to handle the possibilities and ethical challenges that modern artificial intelligence will pose.

“The course opened my eyes to a new realm of possibilities that I was previously unaware of. The skills developed will be helpful for me going forward and the newfound interest I have gained in this field might help me to narrow down the future pathway I want to take. This was an incredible and eye-opening experience for me and I would definitely do it again.”

Neel Vora, GEMS Wellington International School
Jad Fakhoury (left) is a Year 13 student at GWA – Al Khail

Jad Fakhoury, a Year 13 student at GEMS Wellington Academy – Al Khail studying his Computer Science, Mathematics and Business A-Levels, won a full scholarship to attend the Inspirit AI Camp through the GEMS UniConnect programme. He explains what he gained from the experience.

I learnt how the backend code of AI is programmed and how to implement and use many different third-party packages to make fully functional and accurate AI models using the programming language Python. The other students and I were given a choice to specialise in one of the many interesting applications of AI.

I chose facial recognition and made a model that is 94 per cent accurate in detecting the emotion of a given person in a picture. This could be beneficial to society, as it can help children with autism train themselves and learn what each emotion is. As with any other programmer, I faced some challenges along the way, including starting with only 4 per cent accuracy for my model, which was disastrous for a first test. My team and I had to switch up the neural network used to get better results, which took some time to do but, in the end, was definitely worth it.

Ever since I started learning computer science, I have been intrigued about AI and how it can be used and applied in the real world. Even though I have worked on projects with AI before, I still look for ways to push myself to the limits of learning new skills every day, especially in this field. Attending the Inspirit AI Camp has helped me learn more about AI and the backend work that has to be done before we can share it with the world and through the Internet.

I plan to go to university and get a degree in computer science, specifically in artificial intelligence. In terms of career, I want to continue to work on projects to do with AI and hopefully be responsible for a breakthrough or enhancements in future AI technology.

“I chose facial recognition and made a model that is 94 per cent accurate in detecting the emotion of a given person in a picture. This could be beneficial to society.”

Jad Fakhoury

The next AI camp
Location: GEMS Dubai American Academy
Dates: 16-27 August 2020 (10 days, weekdays only);
Morning (8am – 12 noon) or afternoon batch (1pm – 5pm)
Prerequisites: Students from complete beginner (beginner batch) to experienced programmers (advanced batch) can apply at