Earth Hacks: Tell us a bit about yourself (i.e., where you’re from, your background, what you’re in school for, etc.)!
Harshal Dave: My name is Harshal Dave and I am a third year student majoring in Information Technology at K. J. Somaiya College of Engineering. I have various leadership experience and have been felicitated by various governments and institutes, prominently the Dadasaheb Phalke (Father of Indian Cinema) Memorial Foundation for teaching web development to 250+ underprivileged students by founding Maalvo Learners. Apart from this, I’ve delivered 4 technical seminars, won 5 hackathons and visited South Korea as a Junction Asia 2022 finalist.
EH: How did you get involved with Earth Hacks?
HD: Through HackerStellar, which was a superb hacking experience especially the digitalization of micro verification at meals through an app.
EH: What was your experience like at the HackerStellar Hackathon? Can you tell us about the project that you were involved with?
HD: My team “TeamTeam” built a platform that caters to education and investment options, promoting global sustainability for retail investors. We won the Galactic Genius title, which is the overall Hackerstellar prize. The app is called EarthRich; it allows Martians to invest in various financial assets, created by Earthlings for the universal market. We also used Aritificail Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) and blockchain technologies to enhance our app, such as a recommender system that suggests the best investment options for Martians based on their preferences and profiles, and a token system that rewards Martians for their investments and achievements.
EH: What drew you to be interested in AI/ML? What are your goals after college?
HD: The ability to incorporate and interact with machines that help us find better solutions, as well as, leveraging human-like intelligence, drew me towards AI & ML. My career goal is to be part of a team that contributes to revolutionizing AI. It would be a dream come true for me to lead such teams.
EH: What role do you see AI/ML playing in sustainable development and do you see a pathway for solutions that include both AI/ML and Environmental Justice?
HD: Regression and predictive AI play a vital role in quantifying data such as carbon footprints, impact points, etc., in the sustainability domain. This helps prioritize the issues and removes ambiguity and subjectivity, leading to an unbiased and well-defined environmental justice ecosystem.
EH: I’m sure you’ve heard the recent news about how Dr. Geoffrey Hinton, “Godfather of AI”, quit his job at Google with regrets and fears about his life’s work. What are your thoughts about this and do you think we should fear AI?
HD: Instead of fearing AI, we should fear those who intend to misuse its power. Like ropes that can be used for both harm and construction, the growth of AI has impacts in both positive and negative domains.
EH: What’s a fun fact about you that not many people know about you?
HD: Not many people know that I can smile while tapping my chin. I’m glad it brought a smile to your face too!
EH: What would you say to someone who has never participated in a hackathon before?
HD: Just go for it, regardless of your technical expertise. You can’t determine your standing until you enter the stadium. Every winner was once a beginner. Participating in hackathons will improve your coding efficiency, regardless of whether you win or lose.