Suriya Prabha A woman from Tamil Nadu, empowering the community with AI
A woman from Tamil Nadu, empowering the community with AI
“AI is not going to replace all our job roles. But it will transform the way we work”. Says Suriya Prabha.
Diversity exists in India in language, gender, culture, class, religion etc. When NITI Aayog introduced the #AIforAll initiative, it was to overcome all of this diversity and ensure the access of AI to the roots. The government has introduced measures to decentralise technology with many entities working towards it. This is the story of a young woman teaching students the significance of AI.
“Speaking about Artificial Intelligence, there are two kinds of people; the first kind is excited about the innovations that AI will bring in the future, while the second is afraid,” says Suriya Prabha, who works for teaching school children in Tamil Nadu about AI while addressing her audience at TED Talks. Her response to the group of people who are afraid that humans will lose their jobs due to the advent of Artificial Intelligence is that the AI algorithm will require human intervention for its functions. Therefore skilling will be an essential element in the future.
It is with the mission to build an AI-ready generation, that Suriya Prabha came up with the idea for Youcode Intelligence Solutions. “AI is not going to replace all our job roles. But it will transform the way we work,” says Suriya.
Since India is a densely populated nation, the number of students in India is much higher than in many other countries across the world. Suriya aims to teach these young ones about the nature of AI and its scope in the future. Multinational Corporations involved in technological productions are implicating several means to enable efficient skilling in AI. But what are we going to do? At times, the children in Indian villages are higher in number when compared to those in cities. How are we going to educate those who are already behind in the idea of development and advancements? These are the questions that Suriya longed to seek answers for.
“People in the villages are intelligent and are willing to learn. But they lack facilities,” states Suriya. She attempts to transform that session of masses into a skilled workforce. To make AI education interesting, Suriya uses toys. Through the ‘play method,’ she generates creativity and curiosity among children, thus embedding within them the idea of artificial intelligence. Children try to learn new things when they no more carry the fear of losing. Along with enhancing their creativity, it is important to train them as innovators as well. Bringing up our younger generations as innovators will enable them in learning about various AI-based technologies and thereby grow as village leaders. With Youcode Intelligence Solutions, Suriya aims to build the self-reliance of the villages; thereby, a person in a village will not have to go to the city to learn about new technology.
Overcoming the hurdles
Suriya Prabha had little idea that her life was about to change when she rode a two-wheeler for the first time. According to her, learning to drive was empowerment and freedom to travel. “It was that learning which made me think that if there is a necessity and a right kind of motivation, anything can be achieved”.
There were many hurdles she had to go through while bringing her dream into reality. She could not make avail any tech toys in India so had to import them from the US and UK. Youcode currently has a range of robots such as MekaMon, Nintendo, Sphero and Lego Boost. The children at Youcode are taught in threes stages: Be a robot, code a robot and experience AI. Over the years, Suriya Prabha and her firm were showered with awards and recognition for their contributions in the field of AI. She is one of those powerful women who are working hard to build ‘AI-ready humanity’.
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