Set up technology competition for Ghanaian children - IT Professor

BY: Zadok K. Gyesi
Professor Vijayakumar Bhagavatula
Professor Vijayakumar Bhagavatula

The Director of Carnegie Mellon University-Africa (CMU), Professor Vijayakumar Bhagavatula has called for the establishment of a technology competition among Ghanaian children so as to help develop their interest in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and computing.

He said children would find computing useful only when they see what computers can be used for, adding that when children are exposed to technology and computers at a tender age, it helps them to develop positive attitudes toward Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

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Prof. Bhagavatula was speaking in an interview with Graphic Online on the sidelines of a one-day technology innovation seminar at the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT (AITI-KACE) in Accra last Thursday, October 25.

The goal of the seminar was to share knowledge and explore opportunities for learning, research and development in artificial intelligence (AI).

According to Prof. Bhagavatula, the best way to develop children's interest in computing and AI was to start it from the primary school.


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"We have to start from the primary school. They have to be exposed to technology," he said, adding that "There is no substitute to developing children's interest in ICT than to expose them to technology."

He suggested, for instance, that there could be a TV programme where experts could educate children about computers and technology.

He was of the view that when children are exposed to computers, they grow up with technology.

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Touching on AI, Prof. Bhagavatula who is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering said artificial intelligence is simply adding intelligence to computation with the aim of mirroring physical and biological systems.

He explained that AI explores the science of extending the capabilities on human-machine interactions or the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans.

Prof. Bhagavatula added that artificial intelligence is the basis of most automated system in medical diagnostic system, large-scale manufacturing, automatic car systems, music and even e-mail spam filtering.

The seminar organised in collaboration with the AITI-KACE brought together students from different levels of education, including Senior High Schools, undergraduate and post-graduate students to share knowledge and networked.