Artificial Intelligence will be a key driver of future economic growth in Ireland, delivering high value jobs and a competitive advantage, according to Liam Cronin CEO of RDI Hub, speaking at the launch of this year’s John McCarthy AI Summer School.

RDI Hub is a not-for-profit partnership between Fexco, Munster Technological University and Kerry County Council, and is hosting the event the two-day event which starts today (September 2nd).

Leading academic and entrepreneurs in the field of AI will gather virtually, and at the RDI Hub in Killorglin, Co Kerry, in a hybrid event to discuss how it can be harnessed for the benefit of societies, with a particular focus this year on the application of AI for wellness.

The Government’s recently published AI – Here for Good national strategy stresses the importance of collaborative research and innovation within the sector and stated that AI has huge potential to help the healthcare sector improve patient experience and provide more accurate diagnosis and intervention.

The second John McCarthy AI Summer School seeks to support Government in realising the ambition of Ireland’s AI Strategy by sharing best practice and fostering further AI research and partnerships. By bringing leaders from academia and business together, the AI Summer School can support the growth of a sector which, according to estimates by PwC, has the potential to boost Ireland’s GDP by 11.6% or €48 billion by 2030.

AI adoption in Ireland is continuing at a rapid pace, with a recent Eurostat report showing that Ireland is the leading country in the EU for AI adoption in businesses. The report found that 23% of companies employing at least 10 people were using some form of AI application, over three times higher than that of France, Germany and the Netherlands.

The real-world application and benefit of AI wellness is becoming more apparent, with several Irish companies using their innovative solutions in the sector. Speaking at this year’s AI Summer School will be:

  • Conor McGinn, co-founder and CEO of Akara Robotics whose smart cleaning and assisted living AI-powered robots have gained international acclaim.
  • Alison Darcy, co-founder of Woebot Health and inventor of the Woebot mental health chatbot.
  • Omar Salem, from Field of Vision, is assisting the visually impaired to enjoy an immersive matchday experience with their AI-powered device which allows people to literally feel a match’s biggest moments.

The John McCarthy AI Summer School is jointly powered by founding partners by RDI Hub, Microsoft, Munster Technological University, the ADAPT Centre, along with new partners Tangent and AI Ireland.

Robert Troy TD, Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, said:

“The John McCarthy AI Summer School is an excellent initiative that marks the latest stage in the strong tradition and track record we have in Ireland for innovation and research in the area of AI.

The Government’s new national strategy “AI – Here for Good” serves as a roadmap to how Ireland can leverage the potential of AI for unlocking productivity in our enterprise base, for addressing societal challenges and for delivering public services. We have an ambitious vision for Ireland – to be an international leader in using AI to the benefit of our population, through a people-centred, ethical approach to AI development, adoption and use. It is through collaboration, knowledge sharing and forums such as the John McCarthy Summer School that we can best achieve our vision and continue to improve and respond to the changes that disruptive technologies, such as AI, will make to our economy and society.”

Reidin O’Connor, Community Manager, CEO RDI Hub, said:

“The application of Artificial Intelligence will be a key driver of future economic growth in Ireland. Whilst there are understandable concerns about automation and the impact on jobs, if Ireland can maintain a leadership position, we can build a competitive advantage that supports the creation of thousands of exciting high value jobs. The Summer School is a gathering of the brightest minds in this field, with this year’s event taking a deep dive into the area of AI for health and wellness with both core research and real-life applications of how it is reshaping our future.”

Professor Vinny Wade, Director of the ADAPT Centre and Chair of Artificial Intelligence at Trinity College Dublin’s School of Computer Science and Statistics, said:

“Digital Health is a key research focus for the ADAPT Centre. Our researchers span Medicine, Biomedical Science, Computer Science and Engineering and they are collaborating to drive forward research in rare diseases and eHealth. We are combining cutting edge data science and semantic web technologies to support data integration, data analytics and machine learning for applied clinical research. The AI Summer School provides a platform to drive collaboration and accelerate innovation and we are delighted to be a founding member of this great event now in its second year.”

Dr Kevin Marshall, Head of Education at Microsoft Ireland, said:

“From helping businesses to transform to addressing many of the pressing societal issues that we face, AI has the potential to drive an inclusive recovery. However, in order to harness its full potential, we must increase collaboration between industry and academia and increasingly showcase the many ways in which Ireland is at the forefront of AI and new technologies. 

“That’s why Microsoft Ireland is delighted to once again support the AI Summer School which provides a forum to explore the cutting-edge research in AI and the positive impact it is having on our society.  By working together, we can ensure Ireland develops the in-demand skills and strong innovation ecosystem that is required to become an AI leader internationally.” 

The John McCarthy AI Summer School will feature appearances from some of the leading minds in AI from across the world, and representing industry, academia and state bodies. The full line up consists of:

  • Dr Conor McGinn, Trinity College Dublin, “Data Driven Cleaning – New approach to room disinfection to improve wellness”
  • Dr Heidi Christensen, University Sheffield, “How speech signal technology could be used to advance healthcare”
  • Dr Morten Goodwin, University of Agder, “The obvious secret to making AI for wellness”
  • Dr Lydia Kostopoulos, United States Special Operations Command, “The Emerging Artificial Intelligence Wellness Landscape: Opportunities and Areas of Ethical Debate”
  • Sohini De, Founder of Empeal
  • Dr. Sean McSweeney | Head of Department of Computer Science, MTU
  • Dr. Haithem Afli | NLP/ML Lecturer, ADAPT Funded Investigator and PI at MTU
  • Dr. Siobhan MacSweeney| Head of Research, MTU
  • Brid McElligott| Vice President for Research, Development and External Engagement at MTU
  • John O’Donoghue | Technologies Emerging Technologies Lead, Dell
  • Jon Anthony | CEO and Founder of Adappt technology partners
  • Eugene O Connor | Chief Medical Officer in Altada Technology Solutions
  • Dr. Breda O Dwyer | Head of CEED, MTU
  • Dr. Bruno Andrade | Post-Doctoral Research, MTU
  • Dr. Andrew Shields | Lecturer and Principal Investigator, MTU

John McCarthy, who the RDI Hub building in Killorglin, Co Kerry was named in honour of, was a second generation Irish American and is considered as the father of artificial intelligence through his work as leading computer scientist at Stanford University computer scientist.

Founding partners of the event, the ADAPT Centre, is also launching the ADAPT AI Community Club as a forum to bring AI enthusiasts, researchers and leaders together as a community, to power collective innovation.  This forum is a virtual extension of the Machine Learning Dublin Meetup which already has over 6,000 followers.

By Jim O Brien/CEO

CEO and expert in transport and Mobile tech. A fan 20 years, mobile consultant, Nokia Mobile expert, Former Nokia/Microsoft VIP,Multiple forum tech supporter with worldwide top ranking,Working in the background on mobile technology, Weekly radio show, Featured on the RTE consumer show, Cavan TV and on TRT WORLD. Award winning Technology reviewer and blogger. Security and logisitcs Professional.

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