Robots in action at the AI for Good Youth Zone featured image

Robots in action at the AI for Good Youth Zone

By Amelie, a young AI for Good volunteer

The Youth Zone at Geneva’s International Conference Center showed children (and teachers) how artificial intelligence (AI) and robots can provide support in class. It also helped 7‑18 year-olds learn about some of the ways AI and robots can save lives in emergency situations.

Here’s my take on the two-days as an AI for Good Global Summit volunteer in the Youth Zone:

Day One was very busy, with highlights including a visit from HRH Princess Beatrice plus many interactive workshops and sessions for teachers and children ages 7 and up, from across the Canton of Geneva.

Lots of teachers joined the “Robots and AI in School – Focus on deployment in Swiss schools’’ workshop. For me, the workshop was proof that integrating AI into the classroom is a very good idea, particularly when you consider how much technology has changed and evolved since the 2000s, when there weren’t even smartphones.

It made me wonder: have the curriculum and teaching evolved at that same speed, incorporating all the new tech? I feel like the answer is no, which is why I think AI would be a game changer.

The Youth Zone gave children their area, letting them feel like they had a special place within the AI for Good event. They also learned about how the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) is supporting schools and students with robotics and coding activities.

Robots to help learn…and craft
A group of objects on a table

Thymio is a robot that I met in the classroom at my old school – and now again at the AI for Good summit.

This kind of robot (the white object in the picture) is designed as “a tool to get more people in touch with robots.” It uses a bunch of programmable sensors and motors to follow lines and can also help people understand more advanced topics like swarm behaviour.

Here in the Youth Zone, ThymioAI educational robots helped track coloured paper formations and shapes using light-based sensors. School kids who joined a craft workshop with ThymioAI created some eye-catching results!

To tackle emergencies

One important activity in the Youth Zone was the workshops from the Global Shapers Community and TechLabs, which showed children how to programme and guide robots – even in life-and-death situations.

It involved strategy and programming skills, and it was inspired by real-life emergency scenarios and the missions of organizations like the World Food Programme

In the Robotics for Good Youth Challenge workshop, an earthquake has caused an apartment block to collapse. Children needed to strategize and programme their robot to bring the injured (red blocks) to hospital and evacuees (green blocks) to a refuge. Here’s TechLabs at work.

For me, it was a busy two days and a great opportunity to be part of a timely global event!

Before I went, I just associated AI with ChatGPT – something to help you with your writing if you feel a bit lazy or uninspired.

But during the AI for Good summit, I got to experience AI’s presence in so many other areas, including science, medicine, and education – and I got to see AI in action in the classroom and how it can really help enhance children’s learning experiences.

By the time I graduate from university, I’m looking forward to seeing how integrated AI has become in our lives and our work. And I hope events like AI for Good are still taking place, to keep us on track, show us the positive aspects AI can bring, as well as helping us understand how manage the negatives.

I hope we all learn to use AI well – and that everyone, whoever they are and wherever they live in the world gets to use it, too. Providing no one gets left behind, our future with AI could be brilliant!


* Some 300 children, young adults, and educational professionals visited the Youth Zone during the AI for Good Global Summit and attended workshops supported by the Department of Public Education, Training and Youth (DIP) for the Canton of Geneva.

The two-day event also welcomed DIP official Jean-René Guénée, who met ITU’s AI for Good team to explore future avenues for collaboration.

Image credits:
Header: ITU Robot on table: Photo by the author

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