15-year-old who uses AI to solve world problems is Time’s first-ever Kid of the Year

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A young 15-year-old Gitanjali Rao from Colorado, Unites States, made history by becoming Time’s first-ever Kid of the Year, 2020. This young scientist is no stranger to awards and recognitions. The Indian- American child genius won the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge in 2017 and made it to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for 2019.

Photo Courtesy: Twitter @TIME

On December 4, 2020, Time magazine featured Rao on the cover and named her “Kid of the Year.”

The Child prodigy went to win the coveted title from over 5000 nominees who have all done exceptional work in various fields. Her use of technology to help solve real-world problems is phenomenal. She works on several issues such as contaminated drinking water, opioid addiction, and cyberbullying.

Her message to young people is not to try to fix all problems but focus on one that excites them. Solving each small problem is all part of more meaningful solutions.

Gitanjali was named Time’s Kid of the Year for her innovations and her exceptional leadership qualities. She uses Artificial intelligence and other technologies to solve world problems and aspires to tap into young people’s curiosity to create a generation of young innovators.

Kindly app- an AI-based solution to tackle cyberbullying

In an interview with an Indian news magazine, Gitanjali said, “Where I live in Denver, Colorado, we have the highest rate of teen suicides, and most of them are actually dying due to cyberbullying. It is beyond scary. I realized I wanted to do something before it was too late. I wanted to create a safer internet where people could talk to each other.”

To prevent cyberbullying, Gitanjali developed an app called Kindly. Kindly is an AI-based app that helps prevent cyberbullying by detecting words or phrases that may be considered bullying. When you type, the app identifies bullying and gives you an option to edit before sending. It encourages us to rethink what we are doing.

Kindly is based on natural language understanding/ processing AI algorithms. It can used as a standalone app or as a Chrome extension for online web browsers. Gitanjali is currently working to improve the app by a ‘reporting’ feature that identifies trends and reports future cyberbullying to a guardian or parent.

 

 

Gitanjali’s other works

In 2017, Gitanjali Rao was named ‘America’s Top Young Scientist.’  It was for her design of a small mobile device that tests lead in drinking water. She is currently working with other scientists to improve the device to make it to the market eventually.

Tethys, Gitanjali’s lead detecting device, is named after the Greek titan goddess of clean water. It is a 3D printed box about the size of a deck of cards that contains a battery, Bluetooth, and carbon nanotubes. Gitanjali was motivated by the Flint water crisis and was inspired by similar technology to detect hazardous gas in the air.

The young scientist hopes that the device will be inexpensive and accurate, especially for third-world countries where people have no idea what is in their water.

In the meantime, Gitanjali is looking at solving other world problems. Given the pandemic situation, she is working on an idea of an analytics-based approach for smooth and effective vaccination distribution for all.

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