An open letter to the Deep Learning Indaba team



http://www.deeplearningindaba.com/

Dear Deep Learning Indaba Team

So often, the world makes me sad. The world seems to have an inability to figure out how to recover from injustices of the past and this pains of my mind daily. We see international initiatives for Africa fail time and time again — whether it be to rogue greedy agendas or ignorant arrogance or simply bad planning.

I find myself bitter about misguided most UK and American outreach efforts to Africa. In the demise of so many shallow attempts to improve the world, I envisioned what the perfect holistic effort to improve lives in post-colonial Africa — which included the following:

  • A diversity effort that runs beyond inviting a few token minorities. I’m talking about diversity and inclusivity efforts that take time and money to find the the hidden brilliance in places and countries where that are so hard to find as they’ve never been given a platform to present themselves before. A diversity effort that is never satisfied and is always striving to be more diverse. A diversity effort that truly seeks equal opportunity
  • A platform to highlight the unbelievable achievements of Africans — That consistently seeks to find those people and acknowledge their brilliance. It’s difficult to find people who’ve never been privileged enough to hold the spotlight before. An true effort would find those people.
  • So often successful Africans are asked about diversity — which is all good and well. But too often they are NOT asked about their work and their achievements. I believe we should spend more time creating visible African heroes, by highlighting their achievements — heroes that will inspire the next generation
  • I envisioned a place that does not talk down to Africans but talks to them as equals and seeks to exchange knowledge — acknowledging that Africans have a contribution — rather than condescendingly handing it out like charity. A place that acknowledges the uniqueness of Africa and uses it as inspiration, rather than something to be changed
  • An effort that values strengthening community and collaboration above all else and seeks ways to improve the ways we can collaborate and share our experiences.
  • I envisioned a group of people that do not only seek to inspire, but also grow practical technical skills.
  • I envisioned an effort that focuses on continuity, rather than once off change.
  • I envisioned an effort that makes actual tangible attempts to disrupt and change the institutional limitations that outdated governments and corporations.
  • I envisioned an effort that whose final goal is for Africa to be a self sustaining epicentre for STEM research in the world — rather than small secondary tendrils.

Such an effort, I thought, is an ideal that I didn’t think would exist, because it would require such a huge effort, from some a huge group of people, whose values are so aligned.

That is, until the Deep Learning Indaba was born.

So thank you Deep Learning Indaba Team, from the deepest corners of my heart (and the deepest corners of so many who attended). Because what you have done (and continue to do) is absolutely momentous, unimaginable and incredible.

Institutions and individuals around the world should be looking to you guys on how to approach changing the world. I was going to send this to you guys individually but I think the world deserves to know how this should be done. I will save it for another post to go into detail about how exactly you achieved each of the objectives because

I’ve made life-long friends and mentors who I cant wait to collaborate with and I see forward into a future that is shining and brimming with amazing AI research and AI communities. As Vukosi Marivate said: Community, Community, Community, Community, Community, Community, Community, Community, Community, Community, Community, Community, Community, Community, Community, Community, Community, Community, Community, Community, Community, Community, Community, Community, Community…..

Absolutely cannot wait until next year in Nairobi (and the IndabaX’s) to see what amazing things have been achieved by our African community. Thank you

So much thanks and endless love ❤

Jade

Source: Deep Learning on Medium