Dirk Gorissen on how data science can help developing countries

Dirk Gorissen, founder of Machine Doing, spoke to WebMagazin before his presentation at RE.WORK London. For eight years Dirk undertook academic research in computer science, Al and computational engineering. He has also worked closely with Airbus, BMW and Rolls Royce and is the co-founder of London Algorithms and Deep Learning meetups. Amongst a wealth of other projects Dirk is a Tech4Good ambassador and a digital humanitarian.

Dirk Gorissen will speak at the RE.WORK in London this week on the internet of things, drones and their potential for making a positive impact in the world.

WebMagazin: You describe yourself as Digital Humanitarian. What does that mean?

Dirk Gorissen: The goal of digital humanitarians is to support humanitarian organisations (UNHCR, MSF, Red Cross, etc…) in their disaster response efforts around the world. The term digital refers to the fact that this support is in the form of digital skills such as GIS mapping, data analysis, process design, etc.

In retrospect though I should have picked a broader label as my interest goes beyond pure humanitarian, with strong interests in general development and education.

How do you think data science can help developing countries?

Just like in developed countries there is huge potential value in unlocking, linking, curating, and analysing existing data sets and national statistics. In developing countries the impacts can be more far reaching than in developed countries as the challenges are more fundamental (i.e. access to basic resources such as water, health care, power).

However, it is a huge mistake to assume that data science in itself (or any kind of technological solution) can somehow solve the ills developing countries face. In the context of data science simply collecting credible, reliable data is a huge challenge. Never mind the financial constraints and the surrounding political, social, and religious sensitivities.

What kind of technologies did you create and use to build the first 3D printed aircraft?

That was done using laser sintering. A common 3D printing technique. The most interesting I found about that project was the fully parametric CAD model that generated the baseline geometry.

What have been the outcomes of the London Deep Learning meetups?

It has been quite surprising how large the interest has been in the meetup. Particularly considering the fundamental models and algorithms have been researched for a long time. As with every class of methods they will evolve and go through their own hype cycle. Overall its just been great to get people together, see them interact, and share experience and expertise.

RE.WORK Technology Conference is taking place in London on the 18th-19th of September. The conference will host a wide range of speakers, presenting on emerging technologies which will provide an unprecedented era of opportunity to create a more sustainable and equal society. Topics discussed at the conference will include the Internet of things, 3D Printing, Nanotech, Artificial Intelligence, Computing Systems, Sensors and Renewable Energy.

Featured Image: Business person standing against the blackboard with a lot of data written on it via Shutterstock. Copyright: Sergey Nivens

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