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Good News Fridays: Birmingham To Host Mark Cuban Foundation’s AI Bootcamp For Underserved Students

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Post from Alabama NewsCenter

Birmingham to host Mark Cuban Foundation’s AI Bootcamp for underserved students

Birmingham will be a host site for the Mark Cuban Foundation Artificial Intelligence (AI) Bootcamp for high school students this fall. The free camp will introduce basic AI concepts and skills to underserved Birmingham-area students in grades 9-12.

Protective Life is one of 16 host companies selected for the camps in 2021. The Birmingham camp will be on four consecutive Saturdays starting Oct. 23 and ending Nov. 13. Students do not need prior experience with computer science or programming to attend.

The Mark Cuban Foundation’s Artificial Intelligence Bootcamp, like this one held last year in Dallas, is coming to Birmingham later this year. (contributed)

During the camp, students will learn what artificial intelligence is and isn’t, where they already interact with AI in their own lives, the ethical implications of AI systems, and the systems behind TikTok recommendations, sales forecasting, smart assistants, facial recognition and self-driving cars, said Yvette Medina, director of the Mark Cuban Foundation AI Bootcamps program. Students will learn how to use Microsoft’s cloud computing tools to build their own AI applications.

Students will benefit from volunteer instructors who are knowledgeable about data science and can help them quickly understand material normally taught at a collegiate level, Medina said. For example, students will learn a new topic each day from an instructor who works with that specific technology. After learning each concept, they will work in small groups to complete lab exercises that contextualize the technology and use Microsoft Azure AI tools.

At the end of the camp, there will be an opportunity for students to work together to answer the question: “How would you use AI to improve your life or the lives of those around you?”

The Mark Cuban Foundation provides curriculum materials, trains volunteers, recruits local students and coordinates the events. The foundation and host company will provide free food, transportation and access to laptops and hotspots for students during the camp.

The Mark Cuban Foundation’s Artificial Intelligence Bootcamp, like this one held last year in Dallas, is coming to Birmingham later this year. (contributed)

“We know how much untapped talent exists within our local communities as a direct result of lack of access to opportunity and resources,” said Medina. “It is imperative that we give students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), including girls, students of color and children of families living in poverty-stricken to moderate-income households, the ability to understand artificial intelligence and machine learning, and exposure to college and career opportunities that will be shaped by this industry in the future.”

Founded by Cuban in 2019, the AI Bootcamp initiative has hosted free camps for students in Dallas, El Paso, Chicago, Omaha, Detroit and Green Bay. The foundation’s goal is to have 1,000 students graduate from AI camps each year by 2023.

Birmingham-area students interested in attending the Mark Cuban Foundation AI Bootcamp should apply before Aug. 27 at markcubanai.org/apply. To learn more about the bootcamps, visit markcubanai.org/faq.

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