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    Young talents fascinated by artificial intelligence

    Is artificial intelligence (AI) a revolution or a bursting bubble? The answer is already known to the participants of the AI 4 Talents event, which took place on Friday 13 October 2023 in Brno's Vida! Science Centre. After last year's success, the Faculty of Informatics MU (FI MU) once again joined forces with the Faculty of Information Technology BUT (FIT BUT) and together they offered a busy programme. We welcomed over 280 high school students and their teachers from different parts of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

    "With the growing popularity of artificial intelligence, there are countless opportunities for younger generations to connect technology with other fields. We at FI MU see this as an opportunity to open up the world of information technology to a wider group of interested students from today's secondary schools and to get them excited about informatics in this way," Barbora Bühnová, Vice Dean for External Relations and Partnerships at FI MU, evaluated the benefits of the event.

    The programme included lectures, quizzes, panel discussions, practical workshops and presentations by corporate partners and research groups. On behalf of FI MU spoke doc. Tomáš Brázdil from the Department of Machine Learning and Data Processing. In his lecture  "Neural Networks and Image Recognition: a history overview with a surprise” he showed the development and use of neural networks, one of the computational models used in the field of AI, which borrows its name from a similar pattern of behaviour of neurons in the brain. The students learned about a method that uses the possibilities of machine learning based on training patterns in data to open up a new perspective on data analysis. It is typically used, for example, in credit risk and insurance fraud detection, in medical diagnostics or in financial time series predictions, such as stock market developments.

    Doc. Aleš Horák and Zuzana Nevěřilová, also from the FI MU Department of Machine Learning and Data Processing, brought our social robot Karel Pepper to Vida. In a practical demonstration, they focused on human feelings when interacting with robots, social robots or generative models. There was also an interactive quiz and, of course, a chance to talk to Pepper.

    The highlight of the programme was a panel discussion on the topic "AI revolution or bubble?", in which the academic perspective of experts from both universities was complemented by the practical experience of representatives of companies working in the field of AI. The speakers agreed that the current rapid developments in the field of AI are not such a surprise to the professional community. However, the question remains the spectrum of challenges that we will have to deal with in the future. In addition to the now common focus on the functionality or safety of AI, we should thus urgently address the broader societal framework, including legal aspects. Martin Dostál (Honeywell) stressed that current developments show us a fundamental importance of learning as opposed to just studying. "We have to learn ourselves, everything else is just a tool. Many jobs with lower added value are replaceable by AI and everyone has to take this into account when trying to apply themselves. I can imagine that the cost of crafts will rise, at the expense of, for example, administration or activities that can be automated," he added.

    The afternoon was dedicated to stands and workshops of research groups and partners of FI MU and FIT BUT. Vojtěch Brůža from the FI MU Department of Visual Informatics invited visitors to a virtual model of Brno in Minecraft, thanks to the Emcify Brno project. Students from TU Brno Racing showed one of their models of a racing formula, and the partner companies of our faculty, Notino and Kyndryl, presented their activities in the form of stands. Representatives of Honeywell, another of FI MU's industrial partners, organised a workshop on Dungeons and Dragons with a demonstration of conversational AI for high school students. MENDELU also took part in the programme with the possibilities of using artificial intelligence in industrial applications. Throughout the day, visitors also wandered through the science exhibition corners of Vida! Centre, which pleasantly added to the atmosphere of the event.

    AI 4 Talents is part of the interactive AI Days festival, which is co-organised by the South Moravian Innovation Centre (JIC) in Brno. "We are very pleased with the development of cooperation between the computer science faculties of MU and BUT and our colleagues from academia and the world of practice within the regional innovation ecosystem," concludes Vice Dean Bühnová.

    We thank all participants and look forward to the next edition of the event.

    Thank you for your support:

    • Main partners: SolarWinds, Honeywell, NXP Semiconductors, Notino;
    • Partners: Zaitra, Skoda, Kyndryl, Phonexia, MENDELU;
    • Sponsors: AT&T;
    • Vida! Science Centre for kindly lending their space and cooperation;
    • Colleagues from faculties and partner companies for their active participation.

    Author: Marta Vrlová, Office for External Relations and Partnerships at FI MU

    Original bulletin in the Information system.