In August of 2014, the SIG-KDD Conference (Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining), one of the leading Computer Science conferences for Artificial Intelligence technologies, hosted a special theme of “Data Mining for Social Good”. A few months prior, in a Middle Eastern lunch place somewhere in midtown Manhattan, James Hodson, Claudia Perlich, and Pat Moore had an idea–why not leverage the opportunity afforded by the venue (New York), and the theme (social good) to build an event at New York-scale, to bring together researchers, practitioners, policy-makers, non-profit organizations, foundations, and the general public.
Over the short months ahead of the event, James and Claudia struggled and prevailed against corporate bureaucracy to architect and implement a massive showcase of what can be achieved when data meets Artificial Intelligence, and Artificial Intelligence is used to socially good ends. With roughly 1,000 people in attendance from a massively diverse tapestry of backgrounds, the event was an unmitigated success.
The day of workshops, special events, flash talks, panels, and interactive demonstrations had a lasting effect on the communities involved, and continues to provide opportunities for the AI for Good Foundation to further its impact.