Artificial Intelligence

SOTY 2022/23: Community Contributor runner-up utilises artificial intelligence for the social good – YP

Ma Hiu-ching has long been interested in how to combine technology and social good.

“Intrigued by how the world around me worked, I found my passion at a young age, and I yearned to discover more,” the 18-year-old recalled.

“My parents and my grandma were my biggest inspiration,” she stated.

Hiu-ching’s innovative spirit is evident in her development of the “on-the-go” app, which helps underprivileged individuals access unsold meals. This app exemplifies her ability to create solutions that benefit multiple sectors of society; her platform supports the underprivileged, restaurants, and environmental sustainability.

She faced numerous challenges while developing the app, even questioning its practicality and audience reach. “To investigate this matter further, we contacted some NGOs, restaurants, and potential [users] to understand their perspective,” she explained, highlighting her proactive approach in validating and realising her ideas.

She is currently focusing on a project that utilises artificial intelligence (AI) for elderly fall detection, which holds a personal connection. “During the summer of my junior year, my grandma had an accident,” she shared. This incident led her to create a technology-driven solution to assist the elderly, which could be particularly helpful for Hong Kong’s ageing population.

Her dedication was recognised at the prestigious Student of the Year (SOTY) Awards, organised by the South China Morning Post and solely sponsored by the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Hiu-ching was named the first runner-up for the Community Contributor Award.

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Hiu-ching emphasised the importance of balancing technology with human interaction in addressing social issues. “Technology cannot fully replace humans as human interaction is important to one’s mental well-being,” she remarked.

Hiu-ching encouraged others, especially students, to engage in community service through simple, accessible steps. “Starting simple through small actions can make a huge difference,” she advised.

Her experiences in community service and technological innovation have profoundly shaped her perspective. “These experiences showed me the possibility of taking a different approach to serving the community,” Hiu-ching reflected.

Interacting with special needs students was a defining moment for her. She recalled a touching encounter with a young secondary school student who communicated her excitement through drawing. “It was a gratifying and insightful experience,” Hiu-ching noted, emphasising the personal connections formed through her service activities.

Hiu-ching said patience and empathy have helped her understand others. “I was able to help them to the best of my ability in the way they needed,” she said.

Looking ahead, Hiu-ching aims to use her skills for the greater social good, aligning with global initiatives and smart city concepts. “I aim to use these precious years to broaden my horizons and utilise my skills to continue making an impact on the world through technology.”

Her advice to aspiring students is straightforward and encouraging: “Do not be afraid to take the first step.”


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