More than 100 students at the Notre Dame Girls Senior High School (SHS) have been equipped with knowledge, benefits, and importance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how it could assist them academically.
The programme, organised by the Science and Informatics Department of the University of Energy and Natural Sciences (UENR) at Fiapre in the Sunyani West Municipality formed part of a project requirement to train students, especially the female gender on the technology.
The Department has received funding for a project to develop an Artificial Intelligence (AI) application to detect pests and diseases of crops to eventually prescribe control measures to help mitigate crop losses.
The project is expected to be completed in 18 months, with six months already done and it is being funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Kenya, which is also sourcing funds from Canada.
Addressing the students, Dr Patrick Kwabena Mensah, a Senior Lecturer at the Department and the Principal Investigator of the AI for Agriculture and Food Systems (AI4AFS) project at UENR said the application, when completed could initially detect diseases of crops such as maize, cassava, cashew, and tomatoes.
He explained images of these four crops would be captured and subsequently diseased and healthy parts of the crops would be captured as well and trained as an AI model to be developed into a mobile application and installed on an Android phone and iPhone Operating System (IOS).
Dr Mensah added a web application would be developed, explaining that a farmer must have access to a computer and a leaf of a diseased crop, so that with the help of the computer webcam the AI application could detect the type of disease(s).
He said the AI application was currently in the development phase, saying by July this year, the team would have been done with the development.
Dr Mensah therefore encouraged the girls to develop interest in science and strive to study to the higher level because as females’ numerous opportunities awaited them in the science-related industries.
He told the students with AI technology, they could do many things because its benefits were enormous academically, economically, and technologically.
Ms Veronica Amponsah, the Assistant Headmistress in-charge of Administration at the School commended the lecturers of UENR for the knowledge imparted to the students, adding that it had taught the students new things and the school would build on that by encouraging them to be serious in the sciences and its related courses.
Celestine Mornah Nuntaa, a second-year science student in an interview with the Ghana News Agency said it was a big opportunity to sustain their interest in the study of the sciences and enlightened them so much on the concept of AI.