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School of Engineering hosts the November CEIA Business Briefing

29 Nov 2023
L-R: Ann Marie Russell-Walsh, Enterprise Ireland; Pierce McCormack, J & J Depuy Synthes; Prof Peter Parbrook, UCC/Tyndall; Mr. Jerry Sweeney, CloudCIX, Prof. Sarah Culloty, UCC; Prof Ken Brown, UCC; Alan O’Flynn, Dell Technologies; Sean Sheehan, WISETEK Solutions Ltd.

The School of Engineering in conjunction with the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science was delighted to host the November Business Briefing of CEIA (Cork’s Technology Network) in UCC on Friday 24/11/2023. The meeting, part of a regular series of business briefings organized by CEIA’s Industry Innovation Sub-Group was held in the Council Room, North Wing, UCC, and the theme of the meeting was “Artificial Intelligence (AI), Chatbots and the Future of Work.”



The meeting featured two keynote speakers and experts on Artificial Intelligence – Prof Ken Brown, School of Computer Science, UCC, and co-PI of Insight: Centre for Data Analytics, and Jerry Sweeney, founder and managing director, CloudCIX, a cloud provisioning platform company.

The meeting was opened by Prof Peter Parbrook of the School of Engineering and Tyndall National Institute and Alan O’Flynn of Dell Technologies and Chairman of CEIA. This was followed by a welcome address from Prof Sarah Culloty, Head of College of Science, Engineering and Food Science, at UCC who also extended welcome on behalf of Prof Jorge Oliveira, Head of the School of Engineering and Architecture at UCC. Sarah outlined the importance to UCC of engagement with local and national stakeholders, especially in the context of setting future research directions for UCC and noted that UCC considers its statutory membership of CEIA to be an important element in engaging with these important stakeholders. She also thanked CEIA members for their long and ongoing support of work-experience and placement programmes for UCC students, as UCC considers this a vital element of preparing graduates for employment and for their future contribution to society.

The delegates at the meeting were captivated by both of the keynote speakers –Jerry outlined his AI learning journey from his early days as an undergraduate at UCC learning programming with punched cards all the way to the present day and the development of CloudCIX’s own Chatbot, mixed in with tutorial and deep-dive slides on AI and ML (Machine Learning). Ken followed this with an overview of AI from a fundamental perspective and reviewed the broad categories of AI research from George Boole all the way to the present day ChatGPT. Ken illustrated that many of the early breakthroughs in AI were associated with the “Deliberative Reasoning” branch of AI, culminating in successful deployments and AI systems that could beat world chess champions and win TV quiz shows, while the “Reactive/Sub-Symbolic/Statistical” branch has dominated the AI headlines in the last 10 years, culminating in ChatGPT which was released in 2022. Ken considers that it is too early to predict if AI will cause the loss of jobs, but it is definitely the case that AI will change the nature of many jobs. Future successes in AI will probably come from a successful combination of the “Deliberative Reasoning” and the “Reactive/Sub-Symbolic/Statistical” branches of AI, especially as AI systems become equipped with real-world sensors and feedback.

The meeting was closed with brief concluding comments from Prof Parbrook and Alan O’Flynn.

Further information about CEIA can be found at

Thanks are extended to Niamh O’Sullivan and Ralph O’Flaherty for their work in supporting the event.

School of Engineering and Architecture

Scoil na hInnealtóireachta

Electrical Engineering Building, UCC, College Road, Cork.