In Conversation: Ditiro Rampate (Chapter Lead, OmdenaAI Botswana)

Ditiro currently serves as lead of the Botswana Chapter Lead for Omdena, a global non-governmental organization (NGO) with a mission to make a social impact using artificial intelligence (AI) and data science. 

He is passionate about using technology for social impact and on this interview, he spokes more on his journey.

In your own words, please tell us who Ditiro Rampate is?

Ditiro Rampate is a 28-year-old man from Kanye, Botswana who is passionate about using technology for social impact. He is currently the Botswana Chapter Lead for Omdena, a global non-governmental organization (NGO) with a mission to make a social impact using artificial intelligence (AI) and data science. As a Chapter Lead, Ditiro is responsible for coordinating Omdena's efforts in Botswana, working with a team of volunteers to develop innovative AI and data-driven solutions that can be used to address social challenges in the country. By leveraging his passion for technology and his commitment to social impact, I am making a difference in his community and helping to build a brighter future for all.

Briefly take us through your journey to a career in tech.

My journey to a career in tech began at a young age. I was introduced to technology by my cousins who were studying overseas in Malaysia. They would bring their Macbooks with them during Christmas holidays and let us play games. This sparked my interest in technology, and I began to learn more about computers. By the age of nine, I was already computer literate, and I had a particular interest in Apple products.

When I reached high school, I decided to take computer studies as a subject. I continued to study computer systems engineering at the University of Sunderland via BAC. While at university, I gained valuable knowledge and skills in various areas of technology, including computer hardware, software, and networking.

After completing my studies, I started working remotely as well as locally for tech companies. I have been fortunate to work on exciting projects that have allowed me to grow my skills and knowledge. I am passionate about using technology to make a positive impact on society, and I am committed to continuing to learn and grow in my career in tech.

What motivated you to pursue this career path?

What motivated me to pursue a career in tech was my early exposure to computers and technology. From a young age, I was fascinated by technology and its ability to make our lives easier and more efficient. I loved learning about how computers worked and how they could be used to solve complex problems.

As I got older, I became increasingly aware of the impact that technology was having on the world, and I realized that I wanted to be part of this exciting and rapidly evolving industry. I was motivated by the potential of technology to make a positive difference in people's lives, and I wanted to be part of that change.

Additionally, the fact that the tech industry(especially AI) is constantly evolving and changing was very appealing to me. I saw it as an opportunity to be part of a dynamic and innovative field that was always pushing the boundaries of what was possible.

Please tell us more about Omdena

Omdena is a global non-governmental organization (NGO) that brings together experts in artificial intelligence (AI) and data science to collaborate on solving real-world problems. Our mission is to make a social impact using AI and data science. Omdena uses a unique approach to problem-solving, called "AI crowdsourcing," which involves bringing together diverse teams of AI and data science experts from around the world to work on a specific challenge over a period of two months.

During this period, the teams work together remotely to develop AI and data-driven solutions to the challenge. The solutions are then shared openly, and the teams work to improve and iterate upon them. Omdena has worked on a wide range of social challenges, including healthcare, climate change, human rights, and disaster response.

Omdena's approach is unique in that it leverages the power of AI and data science to drive social impact, while also promoting collaboration, open-source, and diversity. By bringing together experts from diverse backgrounds and regions, Omdena is able to develop innovative solutions that address real-world problems in a way that is scalable and sustainable.

How important do you think such initiatives such as Omdena are in growing tech in Botswana?

Initiatives such as Omdena are essential in growing tech in Botswana because they provide opportunities for Botswana's tech community to collaborate with global experts, learn new skills, and work on projects with real-world impact. Omdena's focus on AI and data-driven solutions also aligns with Botswana's National Vision 2036, which prioritizes the development of a knowledge-based economy.

By participating in initiatives such as Omdena, Botswana's tech professionals can gain exposure to the latest trends and technologies in AI and data science, which can help to accelerate the growth of the tech sector in the country. Additionally, Omdena's focus on collaboration and open-source can help to foster a culture of innovation and knowledge-sharing in Botswana's tech community, which can have a positive impact on the industry's overall growth and development.

From being involved with such initiatives for a couple of years now, how would you gauge their effectiveness and if there is a need to, what can be done to improve their effectiveness?

From my experience being involved with initiatives like Omdena, I would say that they are effective in bringing together experts to work on real-world problems. These initiatives also help to promote collaboration and open-source knowledge sharing, which is crucial for the growth of the tech industry.

However, to improve their effectiveness, there is a need to focus more on ensuring that the solutions developed during these initiatives are sustainable and can be implemented in the real world. This can be achieved by partnering with relevant stakeholders, including governments, NGOs, and industry leaders, to ensure that the solutions meet real-world needs.

Additionally, there is a need to provide more opportunities for participants to learn and develop new skills during these initiatives, including through mentorship and training programs. Finally, there is a need to create more awareness about these initiatives and their impact, both locally and internationally, to attract more participants and supporters.

Botswana has big ambitions of being an active part of the 4IR but adoption of technologies such as AI, is still very low and slow. What do you think can be done to speed up the rate of adoption?

To speed up the adoption of AI and other emerging technologies in Botswana, it's important to increase awareness, build technical infrastructure, foster collaboration, invest in education and training, and address ethical and social concerns. By doing so, Botswana can position itself as a leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and promote innovation and growth.

What has been the best advice you have got in your career so far?

The best advice I have received in my career so far is "never stop learning." This quote reminds me to always be curious, to seek out new opportunities, and to continue to develop my skills and knowledge in the ever-changing tech industry.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?

The proudest moment of my career so far was being recognized by the Deep Learning Indaba team to review applications for this year's event. It is an honor to be selected as a reviewer and to have the opportunity to contribute to such an important event in the AI community. This recognition has inspired me to continue working hard and to make a positive impact in the tech industry.

Career-wise, where do you see Ditiro in the next 5-10 years?

As an AI and tech enthusiast, in the next 5-10 years, I see myself continuing to grow and develop my skills in the field. I hope to make a significant impact in the AI community, especially in Africa, by working on projects that address real-world problems and promote social good. I also see myself mentoring and inspiring the next generation of AI and tech professionals, helping them to achieve their goals and make a positive impact in their communities. Ultimately, I hope to be a recognized leader in the AI industry, contributing to the growth and development of the field in Africa and beyond.

Please share any activities/projects that Omdena will be involved in the near future

We are currently running a project with our good friends at Society of Road Safety Ambassadors titled "Detecting and Mitigating Traffic Accidents using Machine Learning and Traffic Data." This project aims to leverage AI and data science to identify patterns in traffic data and predict and prevent accidents. In addition to this project, Omdena Botswana plans to undertake two more projects this year, focusing on social impact and using AI for good. These projects will bring together experts from around the world to work on solving pressing issues and creating positive change in communities.

Lastly, please share with our readers your contact details in case they want to get in touch with you

Twitter :ditiro_dt

WhatsApp/Contact: +267 72781727

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