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UWaterloo Meets Artificial Intelligence

Kate Rosling

Whether it be fingerprint recognition in the 1985 film, Back to the Future, or androids in Metropolis, from 1927, countless movies have accurately predicted technologies of the future.

The UWaterloo Meets AI event held in Toronto on October 26th focused on astounding aspects of artificial intelligence that are present and so innovative that even movie writers didn’t predict it!

Being a co-op student in my third year of therapeutic recreation, I had very minimal knowledge about artificial intelligence, so at the event I expected to hear a lot of engineering lingo that would fly in one ear and out the other. In all honesty, sometimes that was true. However, the content was comprehensive and surprisingly relatable to my interest in health care.

I learned many things from this event, but to keep things simple I have narrowed down the top three:

  1. The first is that artificial intelligence is not being developed to take the jobs of humans or take over the world, like in the 2004 film I, Robot. Rather, AI is being developed to support humans in their jobs by making tasks easier and more efficient. For example, AI is helping to rehabilitate stroke patients by detecting brains intentions that facilitate movement, and triggering stimulation accordingly. AI is also more accurate than trained pathologists in analyzing scans to detect and diagnose skin cancers. AI can even track the flow of water in our water systems and adapt accordingly to save energy and money.
  2. The second thing I learned is that planning an event takes a lot more preparation than I initially anticipated.  As the Alumni Relations coop student, I had the opportunity to help plan and execute this event. Of course there are the obvious aspects to event planning, like booking a venue, food, and speakers. However, there are also some behind the scenes details that may surprise you! Things like hand making name tags for each attendee (which also includes finding degree or job information), signage for the coat check and washrooms and even researching who is attending the event and sharing these details with a huge team of people!
  3. Finally, from listening to the passionate speakers and feeling the electrifying buzz from alumni in attendance, I learned that people are excited about AI. This high tech future we have been imagining is no longer the future, but the present. The University of Waterloo has alumni, current students, faculty members and researchers focusing on innovative elements of artificial intelligence, and we are just getting warmed up! There are big things in store for AI from the University of Waterloo that are going to bring astonishing global changes.

Make sure you stay connected with us by checking out the alumni event page to discover future events that feature more innovative alumni!

 

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