Health and Wellness Focus of 2nd AI Summer School

03 September 2021
AI Summer School 2021

Speakers from around the world joined leading academics and entrepreneurs from the ADAPT Centre and other companies and universities across Ireland this week to explore AI and its expanding role in human health and wellness.  The John McCarthy AI Summer School (September 2nd – 3rd), was hosted by the RDI Hub in Kerry with founding partners the ADAPT Centre, Microsoft and Munster Technological University along with new partners Tangent at TCD, and AI Ireland.

The hybrid event featured keynotes, plenary lectures and roundtable discussions along with a networking and research colloquium.  Speaking at the opening of the event, Liam Cronin, CEO of RDI Hub, said: “The ADAPT Artificial Intelligence will be a key driver of future economic growth in Ireland, delivering high value jobs and a competitive advantage.” 

The Government’s recently published AI – Here for Good national strategy1 stresses the importance of collaborative research and innovation within the sector and stated that AI has huge potential to help the healthcare sector improve patient experience and provide more accurate diagnosis and intervention. 

The second John McCarthy AI Summer School seeks to support Government in realising the ambition of Ireland’s AI Strategy by sharing best practice and fostering further AI research and partnerships. By bringing leaders from academia and business together, the AI Summer School is supporting the growth of a sector which, according to estimates by PwC, has the potential to boost Ireland’s GDP by 11.6% or €48 billion by 20301

The real-world application and benefit of AI wellness is becoming more apparent, with several Irish companies using their innovative solutions in the sector. The ADAPT Centre had a number of speakers at this year’s AI Summer School including:

  • Conor McGinn, co-founder and CEO of Akara Robotics whose smart cleaning and assisted living AI-powered robots have gained international acclaim. 
  • Dr Jamie McGann and Dr Johan Issartel, co-founders of MoovAhead, an ADAPT Centre spin out, focusing on transforming sedentary screen time into safe, effective and fun movement-based interactions for kids with health and cognitive benefits.
  • Dr Haithem Afli, NLP and ML specialist at Munster Technological University and Funded Investigator at the ADAPT Centre.

Professor Vinny Wade, Director of the ADAPT Centre and Chair of Artificial Intelligence at Trinity College Dublin’s School of Computer Science and Statistics, said: “Digital Health is a key research focus for the ADAPT Centre. Our researchers span Medicine, Biomedical Science, Computer Science and Engineering and they are collaborating to drive forward research in rare diseases and eHealth. We are combining cutting edge data science and semantic web technologies to support data integration, data analytics and machine learning for applied clinical research. The AI Summer School provides a platform to drive collaboration and accelerate innovation and we are delighted to be a founding member of this great event now in its second year.”

The John McCarthy AI Summer School also featured appearances from some of the leading minds in AI from across the world, and representing industry, academia and state bodies. The full line up consisted of: 

  • Dr. Heidi Christensen, University Sheffield, “How speech signal technology could be used to advance healthcare” 
  • Dr, Morten Goodwin, University of Agder, “The obvious secret to making AI for wellness” 
  • Dr Lydia Kostopoulos, United States Special Operations Command, “The Emerging Artificial Intelligence Wellness Landscape: Opportunities and Areas of Ethical Debate” 
  • Sohini De, Founder of Empeal 
  • Dr. Sean McSweeney | Head of Department of Computer Science, MTU 
  • Dr. Haithem Afli | NLP/ML Lecturer, ADAPT Funded Investigator and PI at MTU 
  • Dr. Siobhan MacSweeney| Head of Research, MTU 
  • Brid McElligott| Vice President for Research, Development and External Engagement at MTU 
  • John O’Donoghue | Technologies Emerging Technologies Lead, Dell 
  • Jon Anthony | CEO and Founder of Adappt technology partners 
  • Eugene O Connor | Chief Medical Officer in Altada Technology Solutions  
  • Dr. Breda O Dwyer | Head of CEED, MTU  
  • Dr. Bruno Andrade | Post-Doctoral Research, MTU 
  • Dr. Andrew Shields | Lecturer and Principal Investigator, MTU 

John McCarthy, who the RDI Hub building in Killorglin, Co Kerry was named in honour of, was a second generation Irish American and is considered as the father of artificial intelligence through his work as leading computer scientist at Stanford University computer scientist.  

At the event the ADAPT Centre also launched the ADAPT AI Community Club as a forum to bring AI enthusiasts, researchers and leaders together as a community, to power collective innovation.  This forum is a virtual extension of the Machine Learning Dublin Meetup which already has over 6,000 followers. More information is available here: