Sage Foundation Initiative, FutureMakers, Helps Atlanta High School Students Develop Ethical AI Skills for Jobs of the Future
Sage, the market leader in cloud business management solutions, announced the U.S. launch of its global pioneering program, Sage FutureMakers AI Workshop. The extensive training workshop for ages 13 to 17 helps the next generation address the future skills gap and develop ethical and responsible AI technology that solves a societal problem in their community. The week-long workshop at Banneker High School concluded Friday, with prototype presentations from students.
“FutureMakers is a groundbreaking program designed to inspire young people to step up and take their place in emerging tech. Bringing it to Banneker High School in our hometown of Atlanta is a great opportunity to have a positive impact on our local community,” said Ron McMurtrie, CMO, Sage. “As a technology company, innovation is at the core of what we do, and we see the power and future potential of AI firsthand in our industry. We want to empower the next generation to use their skills and creativity to think about a career in technology, and ultimately solve the world’s problems with the AI they learn to create.”
Sage Foundation has partnered with 3DE, a nonprofit created by Junior Achievement, to implement Sage FutureMakers in Atlanta. The partnership with 3DE allows FutureMakers to conduct workshops in a school setting, adjusting the curriculum to fit within two-hour blocks over the course of a full week as opposed to one day-sessions.
“I can’t over-state the value of what students achieve through FutureMakers,” said Dr. Valencia Bradshaw, Banneker High School STEM Program Director. “In a short timeframe, young people who have never even coded are guided into developing an AI product that solves a problem they see in the world. The idea of applying ethical AI is taught by introducing our students to United Nations sustainable development goals. They learn that it is crucial for people from a diversity of backgrounds to contribute to the development of AI. They come to understand that the AI jobs of the future will require skills they already have – such as creativity, empathy and the ability to tell a story. What this ultimately does is empower our students to understand that they can play an important role in the future of this exciting sector.”
“Preparing our students for the AI jobs of the future provides an important addition to our curriculum, which is specifically designed to help them achieve world-class skills,” said 3DE Senior Vice President of Teaching and Learning Niambi Sampson. “With 90 percent of US students in public schools, we are passionate about showing what can be achieved when education reflects the real world and prepares students for life beyond the classroom walls.”
Banneker High School students are tasked with addressing the United Nations’ 17 Sustainability Goals and have been grouped based on what goal they want to address. Some of the problems address during the program include:
- Algorithmic solutions to support gender equality, by providing tailored information, resources, stories and data to women of all ages better understand their bodies and challenges that women face.
- An AI app that addresses food insecurity by helping people find healthy food options
- Climate change impact modelling to show the impact of climate change in a user’s local area
In 2018, Sage Foundation piloted the FutureMakers curriculum, working with 150 young people (aged 13 to 17) in the U.K. and Ireland. AI technologist and humanitarian Kriti Sharma has designed the curriculum for young people with little or no coding experience. The FutureMakers curriculum includes:
- An introduction into Artificial Intelligence
- AI Programming Language Training
- Review of Ethical AI Challenges
- Research, Ideation and Prototype Competition
- Product Presentation