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March 5, 2019

GCL 2019 Teams Compete in Microsoft AI Challenge

In January 2019, Microsoft collaborated with the Georgetown University's Latin America Leadership Program (LALP) to offer the first Microsoft AI Challenge during the thirteenth edition of LALP’s Global Competitiveness Leadership Program (GCL). Twelve teams of three people each, representing 15 Ibero-American countries, worked together to present artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to some of the most pressing challenges in Latin America. The jury was composed of members of Microsoft Latin America, the Latin American Students Association of Georgetown’s MBA program (LABA), and the GCL Program Alumni Network, with the assistance of LALP and the McDonough School of Business’s Global Business Initiative. Juries ranked the proposals based on the relevance of the problem, quality of the solution (content and research), feasibility and sustainability, impact, and creativity, as well as privacy concerns, among other criteria.

The three winning teams were Friendbot, Preserva, and Classificator.

First Place: Friendbot

The Friendbot app concept addresses early detection of bullying among children and adolescents ages 8 to 12 years old in educational centers. The proposal was developed by Paula Mosera (GCL 2019, Uruguay), Jose Monagas (GCL 2019, Venezuela), and Gabriela Gaona (GCL 2019, Paraguay).

We all felt very connected with the topic of elementary education, and Paula, one of our team members, works on a social project for public education. We thought about converting the Tamagotchi into a helpful tool to help us early detect children’s problems at school, and then we identified bullying as a major problem among this age group. I believe this challenge was a great way to get people interested and understand the real uses of AI in a practical way and also apply all the project design tools that we have learned throughout the GCL program.” Jose Monagas

During my team’s collaborative process we came up with this problem and solution that excited us since it is about solving a social problem with artificial intelligence … We  decided that it was very important to develop this topic because it is a problem that affects all members of our team in our respective countries, but it is also a global problem that requires an urgent solution.” Paula Mosera

Watch a short video of our first place winners as they share their personal experience with this challenge.

Second Place: Preserva

Preserva focuses on creating a responsible tourism platform that seeks to reduce and mitigate the effects of tourism and promote new and sustainable opportunities for local economic development. The proposal team included Alessandra Calmell del Solar (GCL 2019, Peru), Luis Enrique Florez (GCL 2019, Peru), and Roberto Mendoza (GCL 2019, Mexico). 

Our idea came as a result of Alessandra's research on endangered areas; it made us think of how to improve tourism in order to protect touristic sites, culture, and the way people live in our countries. We think that preserving our ecosystem and sites of interest is a social responsibility that will enable us and future generations to enjoy nature, have a healthy life, preserve the heritage, and respect local communities and habitat.” Roberto Mendoza

Watch a short video of our second place winners as they share their personal experience with this challenge.

Third Place: Classificator

The Classificator app would help consumers identify the correct recycling bins for discarding different types of waste. The proposal was developed by Adriana Lainfiesta (GCL 2019, Guatemala), Valente Alarcón (GCL 2019, Chile), and Lorena Gomez (GCL 2019, Colombia).

Watch a short video of our third place winners as they share their personal experience with this challenge.

Cesar Cernuda, president of Microsoft Latin America, together with Alexis Rymarz, Microsoft Latin America University Recruiting lead, and Aylton De Souza, Microsoft Latin America Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence business lead, participated in the February 22 Microsoft AI Challenge Ceremony at Georgetown, which featured the three winning teams. Prizes included Microsoft Surface laptops, Xbox consoles, and an annual subscription to Microsoft Office 365. This event coincided with Mr. Cernuda's presentation on Digital Transformation Opportunities in Latin America, which was held at Fisher Colloquium with the participation of MSB Dean Almeida and LALP Executive Director and Professor Ricardo Ernst.

The Microsoft AI Challenge offered an excellent opportunity for Georgetown University’s GCL 2019 participants to work collaboratively, share their knowledge and experiences in different areas, and start thinking creatively about the many applications of AI that may be relevant for their own projects.