After launching our developer platform on the main stage of TechCrunch Disrupt this September, it was a delight to host a competition on that very platform within The University of Michigan’s 11th annual Hackathon, MHacks
Clinc's core mission is to democratize conversational AI technology and remove the barrier to entry to building next-generation AI experiences. Mhacks provided an excellent avenue for us to further this mission among young developers in the community.
On Friday night at 10 pm, 50 eager students filed into a classroom for a 2 hour, Clinc-led workshop. The students stared intently at their laptops as we walked them through our AI training platform. By midnight, the students were off on their own, working diligently to build a bot in the remaining 34 hours of the hackathon.
Our evaluation criteria spanned 3 focus areas; innovation, productivity, and accuracy. We tasked the students to be simultaneously creative and practical; to design something that could make a real impact on the efficiency of using their proposed product or service. The students took this criteria in stride, with submissions spanning from therapy bots to virtual reality assistants.
One of the students, Atilla Saadat, said of his team's inspiration for their AI, "there is is a clear mental health deficit in this country, and we wanted to fix that. By building the CureAI mobile app, it allows users to seek out free, reliable mental health concealing, with a focus on self-therapy through the help of an Artificial Intelligence (powered by the Clinc Conversational AI)"
On Sunday morning, Clinc’s engineers evaluated what the students had built in those busy 34 hours. While we were impressed with many of the submissions, the winner was a bot called LINC, a therapy bot for individuals struggling with issues around sexual identity and discrimination.
Jeron Wong, a member of the winning team, said of the experience, "Clinc was an awesome conversational AI platform to work with when developing our hack LINC (LGBTQ In Need of a Chatbot) at MHacks 11. Our idea of creating a chatbot that would be able to help those struggling with the emotional challenges of being LGBTQ required AI that can carry on a cohesive conversation. Thanks to Clinc, we were able to make a chatbot with that ability. We look forward to continue using Clinc as we keep developing our hackathon project.”
Mhacks was a great success for Clinc in kicking off our larger hackathon and developer initiative. In November, Clinc is partnering with Girls Who Code, to teach a group of female students the art and design of conversational AI, and to offer up the opportunity to build next-generation conversational experiences on our platform.