By building our communities and building each other, together, we strengthen African machine learning. This process of building is critical to our community; and is our theme for the 2018 Indaba. Inspired by a speech given by Nelson Mandela in 1995, we make our call for 2018: Masakhane! meaning ‘we build together’.
As a community of technologists, researchers, innovators and learners, we build many things: we build skills; we build software; we build products; we build teams; we build communities; we build leaders. Together, we can do even more. We can build the future of our continent.
The Deep Learning Indaba is the annual gathering of the African artificial intelligence community. In 2017, we called on everyone to spread what they learnt, and to spread it for the good of our societies: to be the talking drums of Africa renewed. Over the last year, this community has grown and spread enormously. And we will see this growth first-hand when the 2nd annual Indaba meets from 9-14 September. Last year, we received 750 applications, but our space only allowed us to accept 300. This year, we received 1300 applications and were only able to accept 500. For every person that we accepted there are more than two others who we could not accept. We are succeeding in building a strong and vibrant community. But much more needs to be done.
This year, our call-to-action for every participant and supporter of the Indaba during the week and beyond, is to build new partnerships, projects, and teams; reach out to others in the community from across the continent, and find new ways of creating value.
The Indaba, and those attending, must be as Mandela expected: ‘a partnership of a community determined to take responsibility for its own upliftment’.
There are many things you can do to fulfil this responsibility:
The spirit of Masakhane is the theme you will see running throughout the Indaba: it is in the code of conduct that everyone is expected to uphold; in the people that come together from the 30 African countries (and 42 worldwide); and in the community of sponsors, tutors and mentors. All working together to Strengthen African Machine Learning.
Let us all build together, and let us build each other.