As part of activities to mark the 6th Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development, 200 young people from diverse backgrounds participated during the Youth Bootcamp on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics for Sustainable Development in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe from 22-23 February 2020. With the aim to target technologies that are not usually exploited, the training sort to capacitate the Youth to solve societal challenges faced by each through the use of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.
This first-ever Youth Bootcamp to take place in Zimbabwe was organized by the UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA) in partnership with the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology (MHTEISTD) in Zimbabwe. The Youth Bootcamp which was a unique opportunity for young people was a chance for the Youth to have an appreciation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics as a panacea to Sustainable Development. The young people who participated at the Youth Bootcamp were also trained on the various approaches of addressing not only community challenges but also Global challenges through the use of new technologies including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics.
The Youth did not only focus on the societal challenges but were also given opportunities to innovate, bringing on new ideas and projects towards Sustainable Development taking advantage of the new technologies. The Youth Bootcamp was a unique platform for young people to come together, network, share knowledge through hands-on and practical workshop sessions. One of the sessions was an interactive discussion introducing the critical drivers of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR). The Youth Bootcamp delegates also benefited from the wide range of instructions by various experts on the concepts of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics among other technologies associated with the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR).
Another session also focused on Robotics and 3D printing where the young Bootcamp participants had a hands-on session to understand the building of a Robot and also 3D printing. This also included the building of easy Artificial Intelligence (AI) models by young people participating at the Youth Bootcamp. This was an interactive way to engage with the participants in unpacking the concepts of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics, concepts which most young people are shying away from noting that it is only for those in the Science field, a misconception that was also clarified during the Bootcamp. It was also made clear that Robotics is another branch of computer science involving the development of Computer programs to complete tasks that otherwise would require human intelligence to be completed.
To mark the end of the 2-day Youth Bootcamp on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics for Sustainable Development in Africa, young people participating during the Bootcamp were tasked to solve a given problem in groups and to present their innovative solutions as projects. The Youth Bootcamp also gave young people a chance to appreciate the role of new technologies as well as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics in driving the Sustainable Development Agenda, not forgetting the need to cascade the learned concepts to young people without access to the internet and those living in the rural areas to ensure no one is left behind.
After the Youth Bootcamp young people joined different sessions at the 6th Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development, which was attended by more than 2000 people from across Africa.