The Human Resource Development Council (HRDC), under the Skills Development Programme for Artificial Intelligence (AI), invited, yesterday, Dr Willie Brink, from South Africa, to give a talk on the 'Practical insights of the implementation of AI in businesses', at the HRDC headquarters in Ebène. Some 80 participants, comprising professionals from public and private sectors, academics and university students attended the talk.
The Skills Development Programme for AI's core objectives are to proactively train a critical number of people on smart technologies; expand and develop new AI programmes so as to create a pipeline of talents; enable and empower youths to develop their skills in smart technologies; and support enterprises through skills development so as to adopt AI applications. Under this programme, the HRDC has collaborated with the University of Mauritius (UoM) for a one-week intensive training, under the supervision of Dr Brink, to 30 participants comprising students and academic staff of UoM in Deep Learning.
During the talk, Dr Brink recalled that AI is a data-driven technology that is both powering autonomous machines and increasing the flow of information and analysis for human workers. AI, he highlighted, can be used in different fields, such as providing more efficient customer service, giving insights into market trends and optimising marketing. It can also be used so as to free up employees from time-consuming work.
Dr Brink also gave an insight about Machine Learning, Deep Learning and Data Science and dwelt on the role they can play in businesses in the future. As machine learning evolves, he underscored, workers must learn to adjust in much the same way as adapting to a new tool or software service. Deep Learning, he added, is a subset of Machine Learning where artificial neural networks, which are algorithms inspired by the human brain, learn from data and can be used by Small and Medium Enterprises to distinguish themselves from competitors.
Applications for AI, in fields ranging from banking to agriculture, are virtually permeating every sector of business. It is important to ensure that Mauritius has a pool of talents with the skills to harness the power of AI so as to ensure the country's future economic and social growth, he added.
About Dr Willie Brink
Dr Willie Brink is Associate Professor and Division Head of Applied Mathematics in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Stellenbosh University in South Africa. His research interests fall mainly in broader fields of computer vision and machine learning. He has worked on multi-view geometry for 3D reconstruction, visual odometry, recognition and tracking, probabilistic graphical models, and deep learning. He also has extensive experience in deep learning and is one of the co-founders and organisers of the Indaba Deep Learning which runs each year in Africa.