On 7 December 2022, I did a presentation on “Robotique et IA à Maurice: Historique, État des lieux et Challenges” during a workshop on “Robotique Cooperative et Intelligence Artificielle” at the “Université des Mascareignes”.
I started by explaining how the sugar industry has been very forward-looking by introducing mechanised harvesting in the 1990s and how automation is pervasive today. This is something which is rarely known to the public. Then, I embarked on an exposé of Vision 2030 of the Government and the Three-Year Strategic Plan of 2017-2020 (which is still ongoing). In particular, I gave the list of the six growth sectors for Mauritius and the required enablers (including, of course, innovation).
Then, I spoke about the need to come up with Smart Citizens in order to build a Smart Mauritius. Having Smart Citizens is absolutely fundamental in order to tackle the complex issues we have today as well as elect Smart Politicians.
Because I had an audience of teachers and students, I spent some time on ways to enhance our education system in order to create more Smart Citizens. Techniques such as personalised learning could be used. Why do we all need to learn the same things and in the same way? This can make learning more enjoyable and, hence, be an important means to leave no one behind.
Furthermore, learning is not only about the young people. In our era, we all need to engage in lifelong learning. We need to find interesting and effective ways to upskill and reskill our existing working population.
I then gave an outline of the Artificial Intelligence strategy in Government from the World AI Show in 2018, to the formulation of the strategy a few months later, the decision to setup a Mauritius Artificial Intelligence Council and, subsequently, the decision to have one agency for all emerging technologies (one of which being AI).
Of course, being at the the “Université des Mascareignes”, I spoke lengthily about the excellent decision to introduce their Masters in AI and the impact this can have.
But I also shared my general feeling that things move too slowly in Mauritius. From 2018 to 2022, four years have elapsed and we should have done much more.