Encouraging diversity and inclusion in the tech industry

Talent Garden Dublin Hosts Ireland’s First Free Fast.ai Tutorial Course.

Technology, in general, is changing the way we live and has the potential to revolutionise the way we do business. But we are facing a problem that lies at the very base of these technologies. Studies have shown that unfortunately, technologies like AI is not eliminating human bias but in some cases is amplifying it. This is not done on purpose but is merely the result of minority groups being widely unrepresented in the tech industry and the creation of software.

The 2018 State of European Tech highlighted this problem and shared a startling statistic on European investments: 93% of the capital and 85% of the deals went to all-male founding teams. Women and minorities are underrepresented at every level of the ecosystem. Establishing a diverse and inclusive structure in the tech industry is a long-term commitment that requires, education and funding. Here at Talent Garden, we are want to encourage and support this process across Europe. One of our many initiatives to accelerate change is our collaboration with Skellig.ai and Talent Garden Innovation School based in the DCU Alpha campus in Dublin. We will host Ireland’s first evening tutorial series to support students self-studying Fast.ai. “Tutorial Support for Fast.ai ai4coders”, is free of charge and will run twice a week, over 8 weeks, starting Tuesday 15th January.

Fast.ai is the most internationally recognised data-science course for coders. Its cofounders Jeremy Howard and Rachel Tomas want to democratise access to deep learning by offering courses for coders, software library, research and a growing community – and all for free. The objective of these events is to help students to finish the course by helping them overcome obstacles and maximise their chances of completing it. Students do the study in advance and then attend the tutorial at Talent Garden. There are around 20 hours of lessons, and students should plan to spend around 10 hours a week for 7 weeks to complete the material. The course is based on lessons recorded during the first certificate course at The Data Institute at the University of San Francisco (USF).

Ruth Kearney, our Talent Garden Innovation School Director in Dublin, said “Fast.ai is a practical deep learning MOOC for coders that has graduated over 10k students. It is a quick way to improve Ireland’s level of AI capabilities and the plan is to roll it out nationwide over time. We also want to encourage female participation in the tech learning space with 50 registered, the male quota is already full but we are still taking names for female coders to achieve a 50/50 gender balance.” Further information is available for those interested in the event page or by emailing ai.skellig@gmail.com. She continued “We are due to launch our Talent Garden Innovation School 2019 programme providing training in all areas of digital transformation. Supporting initiatives like Fast.ai aligns with our mission of delivering digital transformation through improving AI literacy at a national level.”

Rachel Thomas is a deep learning researcher and the co-founder of fast.ai. The “Practical Deep Learning for Coders” course has been taken by over 100,000 students. Rachel Thomas in this TED Talk explains why Artificial Intelligence should be accessible to all of us, even without a math background.

14 gennaio 2019

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