Over 200 pupils and students from across Africa say artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are opening up an exciting vista for their dream careers in innovation.
This, thanks to a bootcamp organised by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), in collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Congo, UNESCO, the African Materials Research Society (AMRS) and the African Biomedical Engineering Consortium (ABEC).
The four-day bootcamp, which began on February 23, 2021, was organized in a hybrid format; with the majority of trainees attending at the Marien Ngouabi University in Brazzaville, Congo, and other joining virtually.
It will enable African learners under the age of 30 to pursue careers in innovation, understand the basic concepts of artificial intelligence, learn about the physical and electronic principle of robots and study the functioning and the usefulness of 3D printers.
The activity is also an opportunity for these young people to learn the basics of syntax and block coding, to create applications and program robots, and discover platforms and methods of sharing projects in open-source communities.
According to Liemdzouli Mervina Grâce, a student of Lycée de la Révolution de Brazzaville, “this workshop further strengthens my desire to become a scientist in order to help humanity.” She says AI is of great value because it not only alleviates human suffering but also makes it possible to produce on a large scale.
The young Jackson Ewete Michée Dénirha, also a student of Lycée de la Révolution de Brazzaville, affirms that the initiative has afforded him the opportunity to learn a whole lot about robotics, artificial intelligence and 3D printing. “It’s an opportunity to put to practice the theory we are taught in school,” he points out.
“I will carefully preserve this object that we obtained from a 3D printer, which I was lucky enough to receive after the exercise” he adds, while brandishing his printed treasure with pride.
His contemporary, Matoko Elpha Daline Esther, asserts that her spirit of creativity is already being enhanced by AI, giving shape to her exploratory thoughts.
“As leaders of tomorrow, called upon to revolutionize the world, AI is opening our minds and inspiring us”, she posits.
This bootcamp precedes the official launch of activities to create the African Artificial Intelligence Research Centre, to be lodged within the Denis Sassou Nguesso University in Brazzaville, Congo.
The main missions of the centre will be to improve the current landscape of Artificial Intelligence research in Congo and in Africa in general, to orient the use of AI to promote the economic and social development of the continent, and to promote close collaboration between academia and the industrial sector in AI and robotics.