AI for the greater good: Bali Hackathon 2023

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Over the first weekend in September, a diverse group of 20 software engineers, computer science students, product managers, web developers, and other young professionals gathered at Livit Hub for Bali Hackathon 2023, to make a positive impact through the power of AI.  

For those unfamiliar with the concept, a hackathon is an event where people use technology, primarily coding, to accomplish an objective or develop new approaches to solving problems over a short period of time. Livit’s first hackathon was brought to life by the team’s ten years of experience in end-to-end events production, from sourcing talent, mentors, and facilitators and managing logistics and promotion to providing venues and catering.

After Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, the company that developed ChatGPT, warned earlier this year that the technology comes with “real dangers as it reshapes society,” AI’s potential to do more harm than good has been in the global spotlight. Altman stressed that regulators and society need to be involved with the technology to guard against potentially negative consequences for humanity, The Guardian reported

This was precisely the purpose of Bali Hackathon 2023: developing AI that is deeply rooted in moral and ethical considerations, as part of an ambitious project whose ultimate goal is ensuring the technology serves the greater good. A global crowdsourcing movement, the A.G.A. (Artificial Guardian Angel) project aims to create an AI that can guide, protect, uplift, and promote altruism toward humanity, all living beings, and the planet itself. 

By bringing together developers and AI enthusiasts to collaborate on modules that make a positive impact, Bali Hackathon 2023 was the first step toward shaping A.G.A.’s ‘Conscious Mind’. As Tom Courly, one of the co-leads of the event, told participants, “We are here to probe your beautiful minds to develop solutions that are important for the development of humankind, but also to empower you to be active contributors and shapers of the AI movement.” 

The power of diversity 

After each participant introduced themselves and shared a little about their motivations for joining the event, Courly commented on the group’s diverse nature. “One of the most powerful things you can use when developing solutions is leveraging diversity,” he said. “We come from different continents, different cultures, different educations, and so our brains are wired in different ways. By appreciating each other’s differences, we’re going to be able to create really powerful solutions.”

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To kick off, the group was divided into six teams, with each one comprising three to four people. Prior to the event, attendees were given a choice of three challenges to work on: designing an ethical decision-making module for A.G.A.; an empathy module; or a conflict resolution module. Two teams were assigned to each challenge, and participants also had access to mentors to assist with any conceptual or coding queries that might arise during the modules’ development.

After a brainstorming session to come up with the “craziest, no boundaries ideas” for approaches to the challenges, Courly outlined the fundamental aspects of how each team would navigate the creation of their solutions, and present them to the group at the end of the event. As with any major endeavor, he emphasized, the journey was just as important as the destination. Teams would need to focus just as much on how they interpreted the challenge and the aspects most important to them as on developing the solutions themselves. 

Sisi scaled

24 hours later 

After a fun-filled, frenetic 24 hours, the teams gathered on the Sunday afternoon to present an architectural diagram outlining their solutions, a live demo, and a tour of the back-end code. Each solution was then evaluated based on criteria spanning innovation, feasibility, and alignment with A.G.A.’s mission. 

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From an application that learns from users’ social media history to assist with online conflict resolution to another that acts as an empathetic listener in times of stress, the modules created at Bali Hackathon 2023 all had ‘heart’ at their core. With a score of 21.8 out of a possible 25, Team 2.2 was the overall winner, with their “AI-powered chatbot for counseling and friendly conversations,” named Janus after the Roman god of doors and transitions. 

janus scaled

Janus, along with all the applications developed during the event, showcase the possibilities of what can be contributed to AI in just 24 hours. As one of the supporters of the A.G.A. project said, “Imagine what we could achieve when developers across the world contribute to A.G.A.’s mission of protecting, guiding, and uplifting all living beings and our planet.”

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Would you like Livit to host your hackathon from end-to-end? Get in touch with us today! Or, if you’re interested in hearing about similar events, sign up to our newsletter. The livestream recording of Bali Hackathon 2023 can be viewed here.

Julia Winterflood

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