Dublin AI founder: ‘It is time to upskill Dublin for the AI revolution’

6 Feb 2017199 Shares

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Dublin has the capacity to be a leader in the AI revolution. Image: Semmick Photo/Shutterstock

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The start-up community is being marshalled to tool up for the AI revolution, starting with an AI hackathon this month.

An upcoming AI hackathon, which is being held on 18 and 19 February at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) Innovation Academy in partnership with Bank of Ireland, Intel/Movidius, Microsoft and Atlantic Bridge, is the brainchild of Neill Gernon of machine learning start-up Atrovate.

Gernon is also the founder of the quarterly Dublin AI community co-organised with Atlantic Bridge, which is holding its second sold-out event for 120 AI enthusiasts this week (9 February) in collaboration with Aylien, Pointy and Artomatix.

‘We have some great start-ups playing across a variety of AI-related fields based in Dublin and around Ireland, and having successes like Movidius getting acquired by Intel is fantastic to see’
– NEILL GERNON

Gernon was formerly programme lead at the LaunchBox technology start-up accelerator in TCD.

“We wanted to create a more defined and connected AI community for Dublin, so I set up Dublin AI as Dublin’s quarterly applied AI event.

“This was the first step to connect and upskill the city’s talent.”

The Movidius effect

Dublin AI founder: ‘It is time to upskill Dublin for the AI revolution’

David Moloney, co-founder of Movidius, speaking at the first Dublin AI event in November. Image: Dublin AI

Gernon pointed out that Dublin is awash with the right talent to lead the AI revolution.

“With research centres like Adapt and Insight and key universities like Trinity College, which is primarily known for technology and the sciences, based right in the middle of town, there is no shortage of talent, which is the key enabler.

“The potential has been there but the right mechanisms at a foundational level perhaps were not as defined, or didn’t enable the connectivity between multiple disciplines – including corporate, academic, investor, start-up – to accelerate the pace of community growth.

“There are great meet-up groups in Dublin like Machine Learning Dublin, NLP Dublin and the newly formed CHAI Dublin, which all have seen significant growth in attendee numbers since starting up again in 2017.

Dublin AI founder: ‘It is time to upskill Dublin for the AI revolution’

The first Dublin AI event was a sold-out affair with more than 120 audience members. Image: Dublin AI

“We have some great start-ups playing across a variety of AI-related fields based in Dublin and around Ireland, and having successes like Movidius getting acquired by Intel is fantastic to see.

“This also showcases Dublin – and Ireland – as a destination with great talent, forward-thinking ideas and research, which can form to create great AI start-ups.”

Gernon said the purpose of the AI hackathon is to enable upskilling and facilitate experimentation.

“The hackathon is open to data scientists, researchers and engineers currently working on, or interested in, AI-related fields such as machine learning, speech recognition, computer vision, natural language processing and bots.

“We expect a mix of skill sets from beginners, intermediate to advanced.

“The great thing about technically focused hackathons is that you really never know the output. We want talented people to connect, explore the application of intelligent technologies, learn and develop new use cases.

“What you can be sure of is that talented people will show up, we’ll help them to connect, and it’s always fun if you have gadgets like Movidius Fathom Neural Sticks, Microsoft HoloLens, Oculus Rift and drones that will be there to play with throughout the two days.

“Core to the weekend is learning about the application of these intelligent technologies that participants may choose to apply to an industry such as finance, cybersecurity, healthcare or an emerging technology area like AR, VR and internet of things,” Gernon said.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com