April 27, New York, NY: More than 30,000 attendees joined a virtual workshop led by A.I. For Anyone, a NY-based grassroots nonprofit focused on teaching students and educators the fundamentals of artificial intelligence (AI). While parents and kids continue to shelter-in-place, the workshop drew accolades as a unique opportunity to expose learners of all ages to AI and coding.
“You guys inspired my 9yo daughter to learn more about AI and coding,” tweeted a parent who attended.
Founded in 2018 by Haroon Choudery, Hamza Choudery, and Mac McMahon, the organization was formed in response to the tension they saw between the opportunities and threats created by emerging technologies. For Haroon and Hamza Choudery, brothers, this tension is deeply personal, as is the value of education.
“Hamza and I immigrated from Pakistan when we were children and saw our parents toil in blue-collar professions our whole lives. The conditions we grew up in weren’t always stable, but one thing remained constant in our household: an unwavering emphasis on education. Education built knowledge, and knowledge was the ultimate equalizer. With the endless support of our parents, we worked hard to become first-generation graduates and find success in our careers. However, we noticed a stark knowledge gap between the underserved communities we grew up in and more privileged communities we were now a part of, particularly around automation technologies. Hamza, Mac, and I set out to democratize AI education so everyone has a voice in the discussions that are shaping the future of the technology,” says Haroon, Executive Director.
The executive leadership team at A.I. For Anyone is composed solely of passionate volunteers that have full-time obligations outside of the nonprofit. However, this hasn’t stopped them from making waves in the space with far less resources than their peers. In 2019 alone, A.I For Anyone delivered their “AI 101: Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” workshop in person to over 1,500 public school students.
In the nonprofit’s first two years of operations, the A.I. for Anyone team would make time in the middle of their workdays to commute to schools and deliver workshops to students. As demand grew, they trained a team of NYU student volunteers to deliver workshops. When COVID-19 took the world by storm, the team was forced to innovate.
Haroon outlined the team’s efforts to find a path forward: “The pandemic put a damper on our plans to deliver in-person workshops, but we didn’t want to let it stop us from working towards our mission. We decided to reach out to our friends at the Mark Cuban Foundation (MCF) to figure out how we could make the most of the increased downtime and flexibility many students have during quarantine. MCF runs boot camps that teach students how to build AI applications, so there was a natural partnership opportunity there.”
Receiving support from Mark Cuban himself and coverage on CNBC, the workshop caught on like wildfire. Within a few days of listing the workshop on Eventbrite, there were over 50,000 registrations. Over 30,000 individuals tuned in for the live workshop and it received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback.
Hamza, Director of Operations, says the A.I. For Anyone team looks forward to building on this momentum and buzz to continue driving their mission forward. “Our goal is to make sure every individual has a baseline understanding of artificial intelligence and automation technologies, and we’re not going to slow down until that mission is complete.”
If you would like more information, contact Haroon Choudery at (443) 859-4714 or firstname.lastname@example.org
About A.I. For Anyone
AI4A is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that holds free artificial intelligence workshops at schools and organizations throughout the New York City area. Our organization’s mission is to:
We believe that education is the best tool to prepare students for a world with increased human-computer interaction. By providing students with fundamental knowledge of automation technologies, we hope to empower them to have a voice in deciding how they should or shouldn't be adopted.