“I haven’t heard about any AI-forward projects [in the Caribbean]” - that’s a quote from a recent episode of This Week In Caribbean Tech.
Admittedly, I first saw the episode it was via this tweet:
The long tail of my disagreement started when I saw the tweet and it continued to percolate for a good few hours before I could assemble a cogent response. This is it.
I felt a good approach to rebuffing that statement is to demonstrate examples to the contrary at the institutional, individual and innovative levels. So, this won’t be a simple intro-three paragraphs-conclusion essay. It’s more like a three-in-one.
TTLab was started by Prof Hosein as a hub for top-tier researchers to apply their skills and know-how in a diverse set of areas. This year alone, I see they’ve submitted 11 papers to international conferences. Topics include price prediction for agricultural crops, data-driven tools for the financial services industry and even predicting examination performance with potential recommendations for improvement.
TTLab seems to be strongly focused on creating links between academia and all manner of industry for the expression of data science and data engineering in the region.
With over 2.4 million podcasts available in 2022, one could be forgiven for not knowing all that occur in their neck of the woods.
The Caribbean Data Science podcast features data science/engineering professionals from the Caribbean who are operating at the highest levels of the industry both within and beyond the region. The impression I got from that tweet was no one’s doing AI for real in the Caribbean. I’m glad the podcast exists with the stated intention to help those new to the data science industry from the region find their way. It’s firmly saying people are doing things, and they’re doing it now.
One of the papers I saw a few papers at TTLab mention the use of readily abundant satellite data in AI. To end this post, I want to point to a company that I had an opportunity to collaborate with that didn’t just produce a paper for a conference but actually develop and productivize an AI-solution.
Foresight Carbon was created by a ML researcher who had done work in the region before and I had the opportunity to work with her to implement many of the technologies that supports the solution. It’s an AI-based satellite data service that quantifies the amount of carbon dioxide gas removed from the atmosphere by carbon sequestration projects.
So, where are we?
Well, maybe for Justin Sun, there’s not enough data to drive AI in his current areas of focus - VR but he may just need to find the right collaborators to make his visions reality.