March 8, 2018

Inside NYC's First AI Hackathon, Hosted by Clarifai x General Assembly

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The robots have won, thanks to the geniuses at this year’s Clarifai x General Assembly Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) Hackathon! Last week, 150 developers gathered at General Assembly’s swanky Flatiron office to build, hack, and make creative, robot apocalypse-inducing, A.I.-based smart apps. 35 teams came together, and over 20 of them used the Clarifai image and video recognition API.

The theme of our A.I. hackathon was to build something to advance the robot apocalypse – in a tongue-in-cheek way, obviously. Nothing sinister, we swear.


The winning hacks were incredibly creative and seriously devious, but everyone who participated went above and beyond any other event we’ve ever hosted. Eleven hours of coding with hackers from different backgrounds, schools, and industries really made this hackathon a success! So, a huge thank you to you hackers and builders, creators and makers, evil geniuses and criminal masterminds, for coming out and joining in the fun. We’re so appreciative of everyone taking an entire Saturday to hack with us, especially those who traveled from outside of New York just to be a part of it!

Here’s a recap of some awesome projects that came out of the A.I. hackathon!

Grand Prize

We awarded the Grand Prize based on creativity, technical difficulty, and usability. You might be surprised at how the winner fits into our hackathon theme. Well, we all know that robots are coming for our jobs, but most people think that humans will still be better at emotional and creative things like composing music, making art, and being able to feel all the feels.

Silly humans! Hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife, hide yo’ husband, too, because A.I. is coming for everything.

image00Tessellize is an iOS app that generates art-based picture filters in real-time using convolutional neural networks. With Tesselize, anyone can feel like an artistic genius like Picasso or Rembrandt. Meanwhile, human culture falls by the wayside as we rely on machines instead of our own creativity to make art. Sneaky, sneaky robots.



Most Likely to Make Your Smart Home Kill You

We wanted our hackers to brainstorm the ways that a smart home could go horribly, horribly wrong and build something to incite a smart home’s murderous tendencies. You know, for science.

SafeHouseimage02 is an app that manages the Nest technology in your home and is capable of changing temperatures on thermostats and ovens for you. However, the app requires your full attention – once you stop looking at the app, it will automatically set your appliances to max temperature, or as we like to call it, “kill mode.” How does the machine know you are not paying attention to it? Clarifai’s facial expression recognition technology, of course!

Most Likely to Distract Humans from Inevitable Oncoming Danger

The world is a dangerous place, even without sentient computers. People are constantly walking off cliffs while trying to catch Pokemon, or getting hit by cars as they’re taking selfies. We challenged our hackers to build something that would take advantage of humans’ tiny attention spans.

M-Lua-rio a team of three high school students, made an app that teaches itself to pass levels of a Super Mario game. Watch this Mario speed run video if you’re not totally convinced that this hack is engrossing enough to distract you from more important things in life.

Most Likely to Slow Human Progress

Progress in the machine learning space has advanced in leaps and bounds in the past few years. We asked our hackers to build something that would make human progress slow to a crawl.

Miss-directionAlso, can we just note that the same team who created Miss-direction created Wikisneaks, so basically the world should watch out for these two evil masterminds. As the wise prophet Beyonce once said, “Who run the world? Girls.” Except, in this case, it’s more like “Who ruin the world?” Better stay on their good side, ‘cuz their evil side is +100! is a Chrome extension that fools you when you’re navigating, so you end up in a place close to where you want to go, but not exactly there. Subtle, yet effective.

Most Secretly Evil

The worst evils are the ones that are hidden deep in our dark souls. We wanted our hackers to channel their inner demons to build a sneakily evil app.

Wikisneaks is a Chrome extension that loads web pages faster. Neat, huh! However, it also secretly changes pictures, dates, and statistics on the page. Not in an obvious way, but just enough that the information you’re getting is totally plausible yet totally incorrect. Pretty damn sneaky.

Most Not Secretly Evil

Some evils come in like a wrecking ball, leaving a wake of devastation and destruction while whistling a happy tune. We challenged our hackers to build something with EVIL practically stamped on its forehead.

TrumpBot is a crazy Facebook Messenger bot that responds to anything you say the way Donald Trump would – with vim and vigor, and a healthy dose of verbal abuse. The cool twist that makes this chatbot different than others is that you can send it images, and it uses visual recognition to send you a relevant (and scathing) Trump reply! Because one Trump in this world isn’t evil enough …

Didn’t make it to this event? No worries! You can check out all the hacks from this weekend on Devpost. Also, follow @Clarifai on Facebook to see all the pics from this weekend’s hackathon and get notified the next time we host an event!


Last but not least, we especially want to thank General Assembly who helped make this event possible and Mulesoft, Ebay, and Ziggeo for the prizes!