Forty students between the ages of 12-18 students, were exposed to the world of Artificial Intelligence at a Programming and Animation workshop, Youth Tech 2019, held earlier this month at the Cove Eco-Industrial and Business Park.
The two-day workshop hosted by the Eco-Industrial Development Company of Tobago (E-IDCOT) Ltd and Nerds International Young Innovators, whose director Joseph Frederick, co-ordinated the project.
Joseph said the aim of the workshop was to encourage young persons to participate in technology and its uses, not necessarily as a consumer but as a producer.
“We have recognised that over the years there has been a shift and there continues to be a shift in terms of jobs that are available to young persons graduating from universities and secondary schools,” he said.
“The data seems to suggest that a lot of the jobs would become available in the field of technology. What we are attempting to do in the Tobago space, is that we are attempting to excite our young people to recognise the opportunities that are available, the opportunities that presented itself to Sekani Solomon and Dylan Angus… we are hoping that by doing this we would assist the young people in prepping themselves for the future,” he said.
Solomon, who worked as motion graphic designer from Marvel’s blockbuster movie, Black Panther, facilitated the first day of the workshop.
On the second day of the workshop, Angus, a student at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, who is studying Artificial Intelligence and Mathematics, explained Artificial Intelligence as “designed to make mundane tasks easier.”
“Artificial Intelligence is an area of Computer Science that emphasises the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans… only if they have abundant information relating to the world.
“Artificial intelligence must have access to objects, categories, properties and relations between all of them to implement knowledge engineering. Initiating common sense, reasoning and problem-solving power in machines is a difficult and tedious task,” he said.
Angus took the students through some aspects of AI such as speech recognition, learning, planning and problem solving.
Shanika Adams, one of two team leaders at the two-day workshop, said the hope was that “students learn that times are changing, and technology is becoming very prevalent in the society.
“The world we knew yesterday is not the same as today and no matter what career you want to undertake, you need to understand that technology is needed,” she said.
Another team leader, Rahsaan Wilkinson, welcomed the participation of several females in the workshop.
“It is good to see so many females in this camp because usually the field of technology and Artificial Intelligence is something that more the males gravitate towards,” he said.