Will AI transform society for the better? This diverse student team thinks so

April 12, 2019 - By Andrew B. Williams, Ph.D.

Diverse group of KU students

Our IHAWKe (Indigenous, Hispanic, African American, Women, KU Engineering) students are seeking to use AI to help people with dementia and their caregivers. Some of these students have grandparents that have suffered from this illness and know firsthand the pain it can cause and are determined to use AI and machine learning to transform how people around the world experience dementia for the better. This team is diverse not only because they are members of NSBE, SHPE, SWE, and KU Women in Computing but also because the are studying different fields of computer science, mechanical engineering, information technology, electrical engineering, and architectural engineering.

Later this month this team of diverse KU engineering students will compete against other teams in the National Academy of Engineering U.S. Nationals (West) for the Global Grand Challenge Summit Student Competition in Irvine, California. Thanks to a grant from the National Academy of Sciences and Engineering along with sponsorship from Lockheed Martin Corporation our students will be competing with teams from other universities for a chance to participate in the global competition in London during the Global Grand Challenge Summit this September.

Whether or not they win, our students are learning how to do customer discovery, create a business model, and prototype an AI solution that may help transform how people with dementia and their caregivers interact with each other and the environment they live in.