For Girl Equality in the World of Technology

International Girls in ICT Day

May 22, 2024

Workshop "When humans and Machines Chat: Meet DALL-e"

Photo: UNDP Serbia

A fat dog with a bone in high heels on top of a volcano’ is a series of words that can make a sentence. In the world of AI (Artificial Intelligence), it is also a series of concepts that can originate a piece of art. Twenty-two girl students from the "Dositej Obradović" Gymnasium and Economic School in Bačka Topola, were able to see it for themselves, at the workshop "When humans and Machines Chat: Meet DALL-e", held on the International Girls in ICT Day. They entered this precise series of words into the software and in a matter of minutes it turned them into artificial AI generated images. What followed was initial surprise, followed by laughs, and then ideas came lining up. 

Katarina Čupić, a student of the ‘Dositej Obradović’ Gymnasium and High School of Economics from Bačka Topola

Photo: UNDP Serbia


I’ve never been on a lecture like this before, I never had the opportunity”, a second-grade student Katarina Čupić says. She sees herself in medicine or pharma, and she also likes bioengineering: “I use ChatGPT, but I didn’t know I could use it like this, and that it can be so interactive. We can just use technology in so many clever ways. When asked if she is bothered, angered, or amused when she hears that girls cannot navigate the world of computers, Katarina answers with a big grin: “A lot, because it happens all the time. Or even – what's a girl doing in science? I think it’s hilarious.

Katarina Šuranji, a high school graduate of the ‘Dositej Obradović’ Gymnasium and High School of Economics from Bačka Topola

Photo: UNDP Serbia
“Why does it matter if I’m a girl or a boy? I do what I like doing. When I was little I played games and now I believe it to be the greatest art form, since it connects so many different fields. Someone has to write a story, another person should design the characters, design the stages and levels, and then another person comes in to program it all. The entire process in itself is an art form”,
says Katarina Šuranji, a high school graduate of the ‘Dositej Obradović’ Gymnasium and High School of Economics, who found her spot in game design a long time ago.


She supplements what she learns in school with online tutorials, she learned to code through the Petlja platform, and now she practices by making games or recreating old ones: “Recently I started drawing, pixelarting, and making new characters that way, and perhaps tomorrow I’ll start learning about blenders - just like that, ‘cause I’m bored. 

Nataša Bojović, a third-grade student from Bačka Topola Gymnasium, is interested in marketing and economics, and she is confident that there is room in science and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for girls, even when those around her tell her otherwise: “We all live in it, not just the boys.” She gives a similar answer to the question whether they should learn more about AI at school: “We have computer science, prehaps more attention should be devoted to AI in class, and more contemporary stuff should enter our educational system, including explanation of positive and negative sides of emerging technologies.

Nataša Bojović, a student of the ‘Dositej Obradović’ Gymnasium and High School of Economics from Bačka Topola

Photo: UNDP Serbia


Physics teacher Peter Farago made the 150-kilometre-long trip from Bačka Topola to Belgrade. He was able to gather enough girls interested in a workshop on the creative uses of AI in a singe morning: “I believe there should be more events of this kind in rural areas as well.” He is positive that girls need more encouragement to try their hand in fields that are traditionally considered ‘male’. “They were born and raised with ICT, they all have mobile phones and computers at home, and they know their way around these things. For example, in physics, I have this experience of using my mobile phone as a measuring instrument or involving programming, some microcontrollers when we work, etc. Girl students are just as interested in working. 

Tibor Laluja, computer science teacher at the Bačka Topola Gymnasium, agrees that certain preparations are needed for a life where AI is part of our daily lives. He is also a witness that the gap between girls and boys in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and ICT is increasingly disappearing with time. “Often enough I see girls who are more interested in programming than boys. In my view, it’s a stereotype that boys are more keen about computers than girls. 

New media designer Milan Ličina explained to the girls the strengths of artificial intelligence, how creative images emerge in a world created by programs and computers, why accurate prompting is important, but also why ethics, transparency in operation, and understanding the boundaries between real life and AI are necessary: “Perhaps their career paths will take them - although unlikely - into fields that will not be impacted by ICT, but it is crucial they can understand and apply them. Their technical and IT literacy needs guidance and channelling so that they can obtain results that will motivate them to continue learning more.” 

The educational workshop held at the Science Club of the Belgrade-based Centre for the Promotion of Science was organised within the project “Building the critical computer competences - for the future workforce” implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Petlja Foundation and the Ministry of Education, supported by the Government of the Republic of Serbia.