Tech Talk #1 – Artificial Intelligence

First of all, thank you to all participants for joining us in our very first Tech Talk. We sincerely hope to see you again next month. If you couldn’t make it, here’s a summary of our event and some of the ideas discussed that are sure to whet your appetite.

The event started with a brief presentation of the organization and the members and, if you haven’t read our first blog post, make sure to read it to get up to speed.

The Tech Talks kicked off with two juicy and equally interesting presentations of Artificial Intelligence.

Did you ever play Tic Tac Toe on your computer? How about Mario? I’m sure we’re all guilty of playing a video game or another and that’s the first example of AI in our life. Well, from basic games to building an AI algorithm that beat an excellent player at Poker it’s been a few years, but nevertheless AI is more and more part of our daily life.

What our parents thought to be science fiction some years ago it’s definitely not fiction now and it’s only proof of technical progress. Are we the only ones with an image of Captain Jean-Luc Picard holding a tablet in the Star Trek TV series filmed a few decades ago?

The first presenter, Cristina Turbatu, showed how Artificial Intelligence has a pivotal role in so many industries and in so many sensitive and key domains: medicine (collect and compare patient data to suggest suitable treatment, predict and diagnose, identify patterns and anomalies), finance (fraud detection, financial analysis, stock forecasting systems), marketing (create a shopper profile, product suggestions, targeted marketing, CRM and sales forecasting; all these used by giants like Facebook, Amazon etc), language processing (Google translate, Siri, understanding hand writing, voice recognition … and yes, at some point we will have AI to translate Scottish and Irish for us …) and transportation (self driving cars, aviation, optimisation of routes, prognosis). As a matter of fact, when talking about transportation, not too long ago a car has been able to calculate the trajectory of a car in front of it and stopped so it avoided going into a crash.

As a demonstration of AI and the deep learning, we asked one of our guests to do their best doodle with the purpose of showing that AI can identify the intent behind a doodle. What we learned: more often than not, the AI could identify what the person was trying to draw. On the other hand, it has willy nilly highlighted to our guest that doodle-ing is maybe not a good option to consider as a future career choice.

  

The Talk digged further into the AI algorithms with our presenter, David Rambla, telling us about how the data related to an action/ activity needs to be normalized in order for a machine to learn it, how deep learning works and its use in automatic colorization of black and white images, object classification and detection in photographs. David then continued with some very interesting facts about robot evolution from an iteration to another. We then saw a video demonstration of a star-fish-robot and the progress it made in walking on an increasing distance, evidencing the challenges and the potential flaws that AI faces. … and then, when we thought we’ve seen them all, here comes a tortilla-making-robot!

Finally, this month’s Talk ended with a teaser of a topic that will be covered in a future talk: ethics and privacy in AI. We’ll leave you with a question that’s sure to make you want to put your thinking hat on: how does one decide what an AI-driven car should do in case of an imminent accident? Save the passenger of the car or a family on the road the car is about to drive into?

A big Thank You for Bruno’s Bar and Restaurant for kindly hosting this event and for accommodating all our needs!

Here are some photos from this event and stay tuned for more news and details about the upcoming ones!

  

We are aiming to hold TechTalks like this every month, so if you would like to recommend a speaker or be a speaker yourself, feel free to reach out anytime!

Best Wishes,

The Girls in Tech Gibraltar Team

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