On 2 August 2023, at 19:00, I was at Voilà Hotel to participate in a panel on “Opportunities and challenges in Artificial Intelligence”. The panel was organised by the Rotary Club of Bagatelle and there were 115 attendees (which was the largest number of people ever at one of their events apparently).
Other panelists included Sheeba Armoogum, Associate Professor in Computer Science at the University of Mauritius, and Jacques David Commarmond, CEO of GWS Technologies. The moderator was Amaresh Ramlugan, the Immediate Past President of Rotary Bagatelle. The current President of Rotary Bagatelle is Harsha Pathak.
I spoke about the fact that problems are complex and we have to have another kind of mindset to solve them: more collaborative, smarter and we need to forget about little unimportant things like which political party is better… It’s only then that Mauritius will transform into a Smart Mauritius.
I also spoke about emerging technologies, most notably Artificial Intelligence, and the kind of positive impact it can have on Mauritius. Of course, I also covered ChatGPT and how it can be the digital assistant we’ve always wanted but never had. Naturally, because the country is facing major structural problems such as an ageing population and the lack of talent in sufficient quantity, I spent a lot of time talking on how to possibly solve these issues using AI. But, fundamentally, it is always about peopleware. We need more and better people. We need to upskill and reskill our existing people, attract some members of the diaspora and foreigners.
The panel went very well and we had a wonderful question / answers session at the end. The questions asked were profound and I had to wrack my brain to answer some of them…
We got very encouraging comments during the networking session too. For example, three young people, fresh from university and Rotaract members, came to see me and told me that we had opened another world for them. I was happy for them… and for us.