Friday, April 14, 2023 was a red-letter day for participants at the Artificial Intelligence for Education Innovation Research Network in Africa (Edu AI) bootcamp as it marked the end of the eye-opening cum educative programme.
The 4-day bootcamp which began on Tuesday, April 11, 2023 provided a platform for the training of 25 high school students – 15 females and 10 males – selected from over 200 applicants across Lagos state.
The closing ceremony which was witnessed by parents, guardians and well-wishers of the participants, was officially kicked off by Lead Principal Investigator, Dr. Oladipupo Sennaike of the Department of Computer Science, who gave a brief introduction of the Edu AI hub. He revealed that Edu AI Hub is a part of a jointly awarded grant by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).
He disclosed that the grant is part of the four-year Artificial Intelligence for Development in Africa (AI4D) programme, which is dedicated to accelerating the realization of Africa’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovations toward the achievement of continental and global developmental goals.
Co-Principal Investigator, Dr. Chika Yinka-Banjo, gave a brief rundown on the activities that were undertaken during the bootcamp. She also gave an overview of the activities of the Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Laboratory (AIRLAB) from 2018 till date.
During the bootcamp, students were introduced to Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing (NLP) with audio-visuals, coding in NLP using Python, and “streamlit,” an open-source app framework for Machine Learning and Data Science teams. Participants also learnt Python and Streamlit synchronization, as well as participated in hands-on exercises.
The students, grouped into five teams of five, worked on developing applications using NLP. These students created stunning presentations for their applications:
Group 1 presented its “NewsLag” Fake News Detection Application, an app that analyzes news articles to determine their credibility with a 64% accuracy level.
Groups 2, 4, and 5 presented their Spam Message Classifier and Detection Apps, which collect and remove spam from emails with varying degrees of accuracy.
Group 3 presented its Tweet classifier app, which uses sentiment analysis to categorize tweets as positive, negative, or neutral. According to the team, the app was 91.28% accurate.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, FAS, accompanied by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Management Services), Prof. Lucian Chukwu, expressed delight at the applications created by the high school students. She was, especially, thrilled by the robot-powered dustbin which was created by 3 students of International School, University of Lagos. Prof. Ogunsola charged the students to dream big, and keep pushing forward. She also encouraged them to infuse African and Nigerian values into AI adding that she looked forward to a time when “AI would speak to our Africanness”.
The ceremony also featured a quiz competition and debate on “Artificial Intelligence Has Done More Harm Than Good”. The quiz was won by Group 4 with groups 2 and 5 taking 2nd and 3rd places respectively. The ceremony was brought to a close with the presentation of certificates to the students, instructors, tutors/interns and administrative volunteers of AIRLAB.