The Department of Library Services hosted a conference and workshop feedback session on Thursday, 1 September 2022. This was a hybrid event that took place in the Auditorium and online. Deputy Director, Mr. Khosie welcomed all attendees to the session and then the presentation began shortly. Feedback presentations was done by Margaruite Nel, Alett Nel, Tertia Coetzee Worricker, Mankaleme Ramokgola and Kabelo Kgarosi.
The conference and workshop feedback covered various topics and one of the buzzing topics at the moment is that of the 21st-century library, artificial intelligence, and the fourth industrial evolution. Artificial intelligence (AI) is defined as the use of computer systems to achieve tasks that would normally require human interpretive intervention. It is important to note that AI does not describe replacing human cognition. However, it does include the following:
- Interpreting images for a place, facial, or object recognition
- Interpreting audio for language recognition & translation
- Analysing data in-depth & breadth to discern patterns
- Controlling & managing the movement of robotics in a real (physical) environment
- Conversational dialogue management that recognises, interprets & responds appropriately
Artificial intelligence has changed the trajectory of libraries by enhancing content discovery and research support using intelligent search systems. Library buildings are also becoming smarter and customer service is enhanced through features such as chatbots and AI assistants who can interact with library users online to answer queries etc.
The session was well attended and interactive. A common message that came from all presenters was the joy and excitement of being able to attend physical conferences again after the lockdown period. Other positive sentiments that came through were being able to gain and share new ideas and best practices; learn about the latest innovations and insights; meet influencers and industry experts face-to-face; make new contacts and stay connected with friends and colleagues as well as team building.