AI for Impact Trip to the Museum of Science, Boston
The AI for Impact program led by the Burnes Center for Social Change at Northeastern University is a hands-on combined course and co-op experience. Students interact with mentors, government, and non-profit partners for six months developing generative AI products to address public problems. This semester, students are working with professional advisors on problems including: Limited and inefficient communication infrastructure for The RIDE (MBTA’s Paratransit Services) hindering service uptake and delivery for users and resulting in fewer rides and rider confusion; complex and inaccessible Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) creating barriers for educators and families seeking student support; residents of Massachusetts facing difficulties in navigating and accessing the various state grants and loans offered, among others.
As the first cohort of AI for Impact co-ops we are paving the way and building relationships with partners such as the Museum of Science. On Friday, February 2, the AI for Impact students took a trip to visit the ‘Exploring AI: Making the Invisible Visible’ exhibit at the Museum of Science. The exhibit, targeted towards all age groups, displays AI-enhanced products and applications. A full range of AI applications were on display from wildfire prediction to drug discovery.
“It’s amazing to see how AI is integrated into our everyday lives and we don’t notice it, such as detecting ideal cooking time in a toaster oven” – Briana Torres
Interactive components of the exhibit allowed visitors to select a dataset and train their own AI model, showcasing the AI development process. As a student, it was exciting to see an exhibit that ‘pulled away the curtain’ showing in plain language and simple demonstrations the capabilities of AI technology.
“It was amazing to see AI be taught in a way where children could receive the concepts” – Briana Torres
Our team especially loved the more demonstrative aspects of the exhibition, including an AI-powered art exhibit. The interactive display produced a series of AI-generated art pieces based on visitors’ collaborative answers to a few prompts.
“It was interesting to see people interacting with AI in real time in the DALL-E Art Exhibit” – Rachel Kahn
Also featured was the famous Boston Dynamics robot dog ‘Spot’, who completed a short loop showing off its AI-powered mobility skills, traversing rocky terrain and stairs.
“I’m generally very afraid of dogs but I actually really liked the Boston Dynamics dog- it’s cuter than a Golden Retriever!” – Sai Majji
‘Exploring AI: Making the Invisible Visible’ is an amazing example of showcasing the possibilities and benefits of AI technology to the public. Our team is excited to further engage with optimistic discourse surrounding AI applications and we were honored to be invited to view the exhibit
The Burnes Center is currently partnering with the Museum of Science on “Unlocking Literacy, ” to engage the populations most impacted by inequities in learning to better understand why reading proficiently has proved so difficult and why change is so intractable. Phase 1 is underway and voting is open at unlockingliteracy.ai.
Interested in learning more about Northeastern’s AI for Impact program and the projects we’re working on this semester? Visit https://burnes.northeastern.edu/ai-for-impact-coop/.