Worldwide Excitement in Exploring the Forefront of AI
Published Oct 17 2023 08:00 AM 2,146 Views

The progress of AI technical advancements has further ignited a passion for AI learning among technologists. Many are taking the initiative to self-educate, while also participating in events to hone their skills.


Microsoft rolled out the Microsoft Learn AI Skills Challenge, targeting enthusiasts keen on broadening their knowledge of Microsoft AI. Participants had the liberty to choose from any of the four Challenges, namely: the Machine Learning Challenge, Cognitive Services Challenge, Machine Learning Operations (MLOps) Challenge, and AI Builder Challenge. Additionally, Microsoft MVPs, Microsoft Regional Directors (RD), and Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors (MLSA) led AI learning events, delivering crucial topics, insights, and sharing their experiences.


Furthermore, community leaders have assisted members in bolstering their AI skills by hosting AI-centric conferences. Additionally, there was an event that catered to offering practical insights on Microsoft Certifications pertinent to AI. Yet another event was geared towards connecting individuals keen on acquiring AI knowledge to craft AI-driven solutions.


In this blog, we spotlight AI skilling initiatives led by the community in Nigeria, Canada, and Korea, delving into insights and lessons shared by each organizer.


Nigeria – Learning AI with Azure Nigeria Community

The Nigeria Microsoft Azure Meetup Group, a user community in Nigeria, organized a virtual event titled "Learning AI with Azure Nigeria Community." Azure MVPs Imoh Etuk, Promise Nwachukwu, Raphael Gab-Momoh facilitated the event and explained the impact of AI to 120 attendees. Rather than a one-way technical presentation, it was an interactive session that included a Q&A segment. The MVPs shared valuable insights from a community leader's perspective.

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Azure Cognitive Services emerged as the top topic of interest among participants at this event. The organizers highlighted four primary reasons, which are as follows:

  1. Security - In the application of AI services in Nigeria, Azure Cognitive Services helps in fraud detection, malware detection, intrusion detection and risk assessment.
  2. Business - With Cognitive Services, businesses in Nigeria can create chatbots that can answer customer questions and provide support 24/7. For example, banks are some of the businesses in Nigeria using Azure Cognitive Services to create a chatbot that can answer customer questions about banking products and services and automate fraud detection.
  3. Agriculture - Cognitive services help Farmers  analyze data to make better decisions about things like planting, harvesting, and marketing their crops.
  4. Education - Students from the University of Lagos, Nigeria who attended the session were excited about the Cognitive Services because the institution is using Azure Cognitive Services to develop a platform that helps students to analyze large datasets of medical images.


According to the organizers, this community-led event on learning AI offered Azure Nigeria Community an exciting opportunity to explore cutting-edge AI technology. “Participants gained practical learning experience in using Azure AI Cognitive Services for real-world applications across various industries. The event provided us with the opportunity to network with participants, connecting attendees with industry experts and like-minded peers. The event also provided us with access to extensive resources. Hosting this event showcased a commitment to innovation and partnership with Microsoft,” said the organizers of the Nigeria Microsoft Azure Meetup Group.


Besides, it also afforded them the opportunity to listen to one of the participants who shared a story on how he used Microsoft AI to help students upskill in the Northern part of Nigeria.


They noted that the Azure AI Skill Challenge garnered an impressive turnout and engaged participants, and they are eager for more opportunities in the future. “This makes us understand that members of the community are well interested in AI-related topics,” they add.


In the middle of this event, one of the organizers, Promise, shared an important message about learning and community. He emphasized that the challenge doesn’t end that is why they are here as a community. Then, he encouraged community members to do more with the community. Such sentiments from a community leader truly foster a sense of unity and collective growth.


Check out the session video on their YouTube channel to gain insights into AI and the community from the Nigeria Microsoft Azure Meetup Group: Learning AI with Azure Nigeria Community - YouTube



Canada - Microsoft AI Days

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In our recent blog (Microsoft Build Community-Led Parties for All Technologists), we introduced the Microsoft Build Community-Led Party event in Canada. At this event, participants were updated on the newest advancements in Microsoft AI as unveiled at Microsoft Build. Its organizers, M365 MVP Manpreet Singh and Business Applications MVP Haniel Croitoru, and Cloud Solution Architect Mauricio Chiprut from Microsoft, led another noteworthy conference in early September: Microsoft AI Days.


It was their first AI-focused conference, catering to enthusiasts eager to delve deeper into Microsoft AI. We share a summary of the event in Manpreet's own words.


“250+ attendees at Microsoft Toronto with warm cup of coffee and pastries, listening to our keynote, Ahmed Adel from Microsoft Canada, who spoke about "Our opportunity in the Era of AI", was the first opportunity to understand the impact of AI on our lives. With 19 speakers talking about Open AI, Copilot, Language models, Syntex and more, the speakers were thrilled to see various products of Microsoft integrated and built upon AI. A few amazing questions we had were, Q: How will AI model predict a certain outcome? or Q: How will Microsoft Search leverage AI?


Most exciting topic of the day was Copilot. Attendees were excited to see how Copilot can understand natural language queries and provide relevant information, suggestions, and actions based on the context and intelligence of the web. How Copilot can also create content using generative AI techniques, such as images, text, code, and more.


With demos by speakers on Power Platform Copilot and specially GitHub Copilot, the attendees loved the way they are going to save lot of effort and time in writing code or building a PowerApps or a power automate.


The conference also had live demos, real time business scenarios, networking opportunities, and sponsor booths. Attendees had the chance to interact with Microsoft engineers and developers, MVPs, RDs as well as peers and partners from different industries and backgrounds. The conference was a great opportunity for attendees to discover the latest innovations in AI, learn new skills, and connect with the global AI community”.


Search for the hashtag #microsoftaiday on X to witness firsthand the excitement and enthusiasm of the participants during the event.



Korea - Two unique AI-focused events

Our blog has showcased several stories from the Korean AI community, and the fervor for exploring AI within the Korean community has been getting higher and higher.


We're shining a light on two recent AI skilling endeavors in Korea: the "AI-900 Certificate Readiness Event " and a unique meetup that fostered stronger ties among Korean MVPs, RDs, and MLSAs.

AI-900 Certificate Readiness Event for students, developers, and entrepreneurs

Youngwook Kim, an AI MVP and a new RD in Korea, orchestrated a five-hour in-person hands-on session for a diverse group of 45 participants, including students, developers, and entrepreneurs. The primary objective of this session was to equip participants with the knowledge of Azure AI, sufficient for the Microsoft Certification, AI-900: Microsoft Azure AI Fundamentals.

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Following the training, 27 participants took the initiative to register for the certification exam, and the feedback for the session was overwhelmingly positive. Below are some examples illustrating how this initiative garnered interest from participants:

“My understanding of AI has greatly improved. Thank you for preparing the lecture.”

“Concepts like AI and machine learning were unclear to me, but through this opportunity, I feel like I understand their roles better. I believe this will be helpful for my future career.”

“The pace of the MVP's lecture and practical exercises was appropriate and good. I want to learn more in-depth about AI.”

“I got the impression that Microsoft will continue to lead in the AI cloud field, and more companies will use AZURE AI services in the future. Especially, the machine learning designer aspect left an impression. I'm planning to expand my expertise into the MLOps field, although I currently work as a systems engineer.”


Special meetup for MVPs, Regional Directors, and Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors

15 MVPs, 3 RDs, and 12 MLSAs got together at Microsoft Korea Seoul office to explore Azure OpenAI and catch up with the latest technical advancements. Beyond technical discussions, they nurtured deeper relationships, setting a foundation for future collaborations and unified growth as pillars of the community. Furthermore, the event presented key insights into the startup ecosystem and the realm of entrepreneurship.

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This event kicked off with a two-hour collective mentorship session, "Mentorship Matchmaking," aimed at linking seasoned MVPs and the recently recognized MLSAs, thereby enriching knowledge and nurturing leadership within the community. Organized into six groups based on mentoring themes technical expertise, career guidance, project discussions, MVPs and MLSAs delved into vibrant discussions. These interactions greatly benefited MLSAs, allowing them to learn valuable insights and experiences from MVP mentors.


It was a special gathering catering to individuals who are passionate about AI, actively engaged in ongoing AI-centric projects, and have attained notable accomplishments in AI project development. Sharing anything about AI, they fostered an atmosphere to connect with potential collaborators or those who could assist with their projects. It was observed that the AI-driven projects undertaken by MVPs and RDs held the promise of maturing into notable startup endeavors. Consequently, conversations also revolved around optimizing the use of Founders Hub to further these project aspirations. Additionally, an AI MVP with expertise in constructing AI services via Azure OpenAI offered invaluable learning experiences for all attendees.


Attending this invaluable event, MLSAs left with beaming smiles. Here are some of their comments:

“I take immense pride in being a part of this MVP communities, surrounded by such exceptional individuals.”

“Visiting the splendid Microsoft office in Seoul in person has brought me great joy, and I'm excited about the prospect of hosting community events alongside other MLSAs I met today. I'm committed to studying diligently to deliver the best speeches and presentations at our future events!”

“Meeting remarkable female mentors in the field has inspired me. After graduating from MLSAs, I've decided to become a distinguished MVP myself. I aspire to follow in their footsteps!'"

“I didn't anticipate experiencing such a high level of energy and enjoyment while meeting with students. I'm not inclined to return to the days when I only had MVPs, which were less enjoyable than today:smile:



For a deeper dive into Microsoft AI, we invite you to explore the Microsoft Learn AI Skills Challenge. Navigate to the Challenge(s) and select [See the challenge collection] to begin your journey with our official materials. While the challenge timeframe has concluded, the educational content remains accessible for your convenience.


Besides, the upcoming Microsoft Ignite will show you the latest AI innovation. Browse the Session catalog and begin your preparations to discover the best of what's next in technology, problem-solve with experts, and make global connections to empower yourself to lead your organization!

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